In a recent General Audience, Pope Francis addressed the issue ofSunday Mass attendance. He noted that the Sunday obligation is mandated by the third commandment,but he also asked this rhetorical question:
"How can we respond to those who say that it is of no use going to Mass, even on Sunday, because the important thing is to live well, to love our neighbour? It is true that the quality of Christian life is measured by the capacity to love, as Jesus said, but how can we practice the Gospel without drawing the energy necessary to do so, one Sunday after another, from the inexhaustible source of the Eucharist?"
He reminded us that, "Sunday is a holy day for us, sanctified by the Eucharistic celebration, the living presence of the Lord among us and for us. Thus, it is the Mass that makes Sunday Christian. The Christian Sunday revolves around the Mass. For a Christian, what is a Sunday in which the encounter with the Lord is lacking?"
"Some secularized societies have lost the Christian sense of Sunday illuminated by the Eucharist. This is a shame! In these contexts it is necessary to revive this awareness, to recover the meaning of the celebration, the meaning of the joy, of the parish community, of solidarity, of the rest which restores body and soul."
The Holy Father noted that we need the grace that comes to us from the Holy Eucharist in order to put his commandments into practice and become convincing witnesses.
The Mass anticipates the Sunday without sunset, the eternal “Day of the Lord”, where every tear will be wiped away and we will know only perpetual glory with God and all the souls in heaven. In every Mass, we taste a little of this Kingdom to come! How could we possibly stay away from church on Sundays?
Blessed be Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar!
Fr. Tim Byerley