THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY IS TO BE OBSERVED THIS COMING WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15TH:. Masses for this special observance are scheduled as follows:
on Tues., Aug. 14th, at Resurrection Parish at 7:00 p.m.; on Wed., Aug. 15th, at Resurrection Parish at 9:30 a.m. and at St. Mary Parish at 7:00 p.m. This occasion is observed as a Holy Day of Obligation. This means that the Church insists that participating at Mass for this observance is as important as it is to come to Mass each weekend.
As persons of all ages, many of us have an instinctive repulsion to do that which is obligatory. As we grow up, we experience a number of things that we have to do, like going to school every day, performing our chores, reporting our whereabouts to our parents at all times. As adults, our lives are filled with obligatory responsibilities, such as going to work, paying our bills, observing traffic laws, meeting deadlines, etc., etc… Obligatory Holy Days can be perceived as just another log that we add to the pile of tasks that we already have to perform in order to survive.
Let’s just imagine that the Church did not designate any days as essential occasions for gathering to worship. For that matter, let’s envision the situation in which coming to Mass each weekend would be set forth as optional. Whenever occasions for our participation are presented to us as optional, many of us would just opt out of these gatherings. Sad to say, a significant number of Catholics regard the responsibility of gathering for Mass each weekend and on designated Holy Days of Obligation as optional.
As we develop, many of us grow in the ability to be grateful for that which is obligatory. Attending school illustrates this. If we are willing to make the most out of having to go to school, we can be grateful for this reality and come to regard it as an opportunity to be embraced.
Having Obligatory Holy Days can be helpful in the following ways: First, they serve to strengthen our identity as the Lord’s People. Every group, beginning with our family, needs to renew its identity on a regular basis, if that group is to continue to have meaning for its participants. Hopefully, our identity as God’s People is deepened and strengthened as a result of coming to Mass each weekend and on Obligatory Holy Days.
Holy Days of Obligation also offer a unique opportunity to witness to our Faith in the larger community. We do not live in a Catholic culture. If every Catholic did our best to come to Mass for this week’s Holy Day, this would evoke at least a sense of curiosity about the Catholic Faith to persons who are not Catholic. As we work to share why we come to Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, we are sowing seeds that might lead non-Catholic persons to want to explore the Catholic Faith. Perhaps as a result of this, outsiders might want to be fully one with us at the Lord’s Eucharistic Banquet.
My prayer for us is that even though we may come to Mass for the Holy Day to be observed this week out of a sense of obligation, we will grow into the ability to embrace Holy Days of Obligation as opportunities for which we will be eternally grateful.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor