I am grateful that there are a number of parishes in our area where people can gather to celebrate Mass on weekends. This is said because I assume that when Resurrection or St. Mary’ parishioners are not present at weekend Masses in our respective parishes, they are attending Masses elsewhere on a given weekend.
Gathering to celebrate Mass each weekend and on designated Holy Days expresses the hub and heart of our lives as Catholic Christians.
We gravely hurt the Body of Christ, the Church, when we absent ourselves from weekend Mass celebrations unless we have a serious reason for doing this. According to Church teaching, we should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if we have missed Mass that we could have attended until we have been reconciled to God and to the Church in the Sacrament of Penance. Also, we seriously hurt the Body of Christ if we don’t come to Mass weekly and then receive Holy Communion without first being reconciled to the Lord and the faith community in the Sacrament of Penance.
Let’s look at why coming to Mass weekly and on designated Holy Days is challenging. At all stages of our lives, we belong to a number of groups, such as to our family, parish community, work setting, school community and its activities, sport teams, circles of friends and others. Each of these groups has values. In an ideal world, the values of each of the groups to which we belong would be in harmony with one another. In the world in which we love, this often does not happen. The values of certain groups with which we are affiliated are in conflict with values to other groups to which we belong.
A question we need to ask ourselves if we are to continue to live as Christ’s disciples is the following: which group are we allowing to have the primary role in determining the way in which we live?
Most of us are strongly influenced by the members of our family. As the Lord has designed the family, our families were and are intended to be expressions of the Church in miniature. We are related to Christ first and foremost as members of the Church. What a blessing it is when and where families strive to first and foremost please the Lord in choosing family activities. Sad to say, oftentimes, this does not happen.
Individual family members at times are not supported by other family members in their determination to participate at Mass weekly. Non-church attenders often just don’t see the value in the practice of coming to Mass faithfully.
I pray for persons who want to obey the Lord in this situation. It’s got to be very difficult for one to come to Mass week in and week out and not be supported by the members of one’s own family.
May those who come to Mass faithfully strive to continue to do this in a grateful and joy-filled manner. In this way, we will be sowing seeds that in the Lord’s time will produce an abundant spiritual harvest.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver-Pastor