Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Monday, July 02, 2012

Beyond Fear, Guilt, and the Force of Habit: A Year for Sunday Mass

By Fr. Louis Cameli

Make no mistake about it. Going to Sunday Mass is a weighty obligation. The Third Commandment tells us: “Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.” For Catholics that means celebrating Sunday Mass and observing Sabbath rest, so that we can pay attention to the deeper realities of our lives in God.

Sunday Mass also has to do with the First Commandment: “You shall not have false gods.” If we don’t worship God, we will end up worshipping something else, a false god that will claim the center of our lives. Look at the rampant addictions in our society, if you don’t believe me.

To say that participating in Sunday Mass is an obligation doesn’t mean that fear, guilt, or habit are the only or even most important motivators to get us to church on Sunday. The obligation stems from faith, hope, and love. Because we believe that in his death and resurrection Jesus saved us from sin and death and that he is our sustaining Bread of Life, we must participate in Sunday Mass. Because our lives involve struggle and we depend on the hope that only God can give us, we must renew that hope weekly at Sunday Mass. Because God’s love in Jesus Christ sustains us now and is our future destiny, we must celebrate and deepen that love through Sunday Mass.

Beginning now on July 1st, the Archdiocese of Chicago dedicates a year of our Strategic Pastoral Plan to Sunday Mass. Together, we will probe and discover the deepest reasons for our Sunday worship at Mass. Together, we understand the meaning of the Mass, especially the various actions within the Mass through a weekly feature entitled Know the Mass: One Word at a Time and through a Question of the Week. Finally, we will learn to pray better together, and to live out the holy mysteries that we celebrate.

Comments

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 1:22 AM

Father Cameli,
Interesting and passionate post. I'm kinda lucky when it comes to attending Sunday Mass. My grandfather hasn't missed many sundays in his 94 years. Being 34 years of age now myself I find myself in the position of assisting him still attend mass on Sunday mornings which by the Grace of God we are still able to do. Grandpa harry wilton can't walk too well, see or hear too well, and throw in the added difficulty of all these new translations and I can assure that each Sunday has become a great challenge. Grandpa flirts with hanging it up but every once in awhile he reveals that its not him but Jesus himself that wants him to keep attending.
What an inspiration this is for a younger adult catholic to look up to. The dedication, perservance, and internal drive to please the Lord right up to the end has taught me so much about the own need I have to attend mass regularly. In the lastg 6 years of service to grandpa, it has duelly revealed to gifts to be attained by being present every week. I feel much more intune and aware of the what we are doing together in church
And I've come to a fuller appreciation of the annual liturgical calendar, and I've have a better sense about the kinds of people and family that are gathering with us on Sunday through better familiarity.
And I've noticed that the harder it is to attend on a given Sunday whatever the challengesw may be...after making it those are usually my most powerful masses. Always end up wondering what was so hard about wanting to sacrifice to be present at mass. What was it that so consumed me that I wouldn't rather be her in prayer? It's happened to me over and over.
Thanks for the time
Your son in Christ,
Timothy canezaro

timothy c.

Thursday, July 05, 2012 12:59 PM

Spending time exploring the deepest reasons why we go to Mass can help our Church form better evangelization strategies.

I appreciate the way you remind us of that humans will always end up worshiping something on Sunday. Submitting ourselves to the truth of the mass, that it is Jesus being sacrificed for our sins everyday (but most especially on Sunday)helps to focus Catholics in Archdiocese this year.

Thomas H.