Summary of Catechism paragraphs 2168-95:
- If we love God above all, and revere His holy name, then we will desire to give Him the public worship He deserves; this is the basis of the Third Commandment, that we are to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
- The sabbath is vital to the divine revelation given to the people of Israel: the seventh day of the week was consecrated to God, in commemoration of His “rest” after the work of creation, His saving action of liberating them from slavery in Egypt, and their intimate covenant relationship with Him.
- In keeping with the pattern throughout the Old Testament, the sabbath was a preparation for the coming of Christ; Jesus emphasized its true meaning by performing miraculous healings on the sabbath, freeing people from the shackles of sin and disease.
- Through His Resurrection on Easter Sunday, Christ ushers in a new creation while completing His work of redemption; because both creation and redemption are intrinsically related to the sabbath, the observance of the sabbath was transferred to Sunday, the “Lord’s Day,” at the dawn of the Church.
- As the New Testament illustrates, the first Christians were already gathering on the first day of the week for the breaking of the bread; ever since then, for 2,000 years, the Sunday Eucharist has been “at the heart of the Church’s life.”
- When we assemble in the same way with our parish family to celebrate the Lord’s Day, we testify that we belong to the Church that transcends time and space; like our forebears, we are nourished with the Word of God in Scripture and in sacrament, as we receive the Word made flesh, the Lord, in the Eucharist.
- This worship is so crucial to our spiritual health, and our right relationship with God, that it is a grave obligation; if we deliberately fail to attend Mass on Sundays or other holy days, without a serious reason (such as illness), we commit a mortal sin and must seek the sacrament of Reconciliation.
- God also gives us this commandment for the sake of our physical and emotional well-being; He commands us to rest from our usual daily grind of work and toil, reclaim our freedom from material preoccupations, and savor a foretaste of our eternal rest with God.
- By being faithful to the Sunday rest from work, we can relax with family and friends, enjoy healthy recreations, set aside more quiet time for reflection, and reach out in charity to others in need.
- Unfortunately, many have to work on Sundays because of the nature of their employment; while this is unavoidable in certain instances, employers and customers should not place excessive or unnecessary burdens on workers, and those who do work should still carve out time to keep the Lord’s Day holy.
Live Your Faith
Whenever we deliberately skip Mass on a Sunday or other holy day, just because we didn’t bother to go, we are telling God, “I’ve got something better to do.”
But nothing in the entire cosmos is more important than thanking God for loving me personally before time began; for creating me; for redeeming me; for forgiving me; for enlightening me with the fullness of His truth in the Catholic Church; for giving me His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist; for desiring me to spend eternal life in unimaginable happiness with Him.
Only in the Mass can we render proper thanks and praise, because it is the very sacrifice of Christ to the Father.