Why do Catholics have to go to mass on Sundays?

For many of my young adult peers, going to mass on Sundays is considered “soooo last century.” Along with more than a few other Catholic things. But just because something is old doesn’t make it wrong or not necessary.

St. John the Baptist from Choir Loft

 

The most obvious first step in understanding mass on Sundays is looking back to the book of Genesis, where in the creation of the world God rested on the 7th day. This day is called the Sabbath, the Lord’s day or the day of rest. Long story short, the Sabbath was originally Saturday for the Jews, but Christians switched the day to Sunday. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent, St. Justin was the first Christian to mention the tradition of worship on Sunday in writing, and Tertullian explicitly stated in 202 AD how Sunday was the day that Christians celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection. Perhaps the most powerful argument for going to mass on Sundays is the third commandment: keep holy the Sabbath.

But how do we keep the Sabbath holy? Is it enough to just pray at home? At the last supper, when Jesus instituted the Eucharist, He said:

“Do this in memory of me.” -Luke 22:19

In a few other passages, Jesus gave us the model of the structure of mass. The model always consisted of Jesus teaching and explaining the scriptures, followed by the whole assembly sharing a meal, presided over by Jesus. A few examples are at any of the feedings of the thousands, the last supper, the rode to emmaus, and the appearance to the apostles after His resurrection. This is exactly the same as the Catholic mass, with the two main parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

We can learn from the examples of the early Christians in scripture, too. In the book of Acts, we see in chapter 2 that “they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” in verse 42 and that “every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes” in verse 46, which seems to imply not only a weekly mass but DAILY mass. Another gem is in Acts 20:7, where the author writes “on the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread.” Sunday is the first day of the week. Pretty self explanatory, huh?

Some practicals:

Going to mass allows you to witness a miracle.

Going to mass is an opportunity to receive our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist.

We get to worship God at mass.

We can learn from the scriptures, sing psalms, and hear from the pastor as he encourages us in our journey.

Going to mass is a great opportunity to practice your handshaking and hugging abilities, as well as learn a little Latin, while being surrounded by friendly people who say “God bless you” when you sneeze, and you still keep the blood flowing by standing, sitting, and kneeling.

Any other reasons why you go to mass? Do you have any questions for me? Feel free to drop me a comment 🙂

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