This is a commandment that I have known what it’s meant for years, but haven’t really been holding up my end of the bargain.
Attending Holy Mass each Sunday isn’t the problem. In fact, I look forward to it. It’s now my favorite day of the week. What I need to keep in mind is keeping the sabbath holy. God intended the sabbath to be a day of rest. In Exodus 20:8-11 God tells Moses, “Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested.
I learned this as a kid but, in my laters years, I took the meaning of this commandment as making sure I attended mass. I had forgotten that the most important part of this commandment is to rest. In Leviticus 16:31, It shall be a sabbath of complete rest for you, on which you must humble yourselves—an everlasting statute. If I’m working, or doing something to keep someone else from resting (shopping, going to a movie, even to watch the Carolina Panthers play) I have to discern what is the right thing to do. By the nature of the commandment itself, I should be resting, and allowing others to rest. At what point, I ask myself, where do I draw the line? I read the following on a Catholic website:
“Now of course it is generally accepted by moral theologians that those necessary items such as food required for that day, medicine, fuel, etc are permitted to be purchased on Sunday, but to intentionally do your whole weeks shopping on Sunday would be seriously sinful, especially if you make a habit of it. Of course the exception to this would be if you lived way out the in country and have to drive more than an hour into town for Mass you would then be permitted to do your shopping since it is such an exceptional burden to have to drive back during the week.”
Back to attending mass weekly. In my younger days I would find reasons to miss mass. I knew, that when I missed mass, I was giving up my opportunity to receive the Holy Eucharist. Jesus says it pretty explicitly in John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” The intention of Sunday is to offer adoration to God. Jesus left it up to the apostles which day of the week to set aside for our day of rest.
Since my epiphany I have had a completely new outlook on my life and what I must do to prepare myself for salvation. No longer do I feel as thought I HAVE to attend mass. I now want to attend mass.
Lastly, although not obvious in the commandment, is the need for all of us, God’s children, to come together and worship the Lord. Jesus is the cornerstone, and we are the foundation. If we don’t come together as one church then our foundation may degrade and eventually crumble. Too many people consider “church” as a building. We all know that “church” is you and I. Paul definitely understood this. Throughout his epistles he emphasizes the need to worship as one body.
Romans 12:5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.
1 Corinthians 12:20 But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
and finally, Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.
Again, I see a commandment that is not so cut and dry. I see a commandment that values our lives, lives of others and taking a full day, not just an hour, to focus on our Lord.
God Bless and Peace