Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekly Worship versus Weakened Worship

Jesus as a faithful Jew ALWAYS attended community worship on the Sabbath – be it at a synagogue or at the Temple in Jerusalem. His example is our example. The Christian Sabbath became Sunday because it was the first day of the week when Jesus resurrected. Henceforth the Christian “Sabbath” was Sunday.
There are 168 hours in a week. What is one hour to give the Lord? Who can make a return to the Lord for all the good that he has done for us?
Regarding Weekly attendance at community prayer, the Church teaches what she does based on what Jesus taught and did. Besides, when one member of the body is missing, we are lesser for it.

The Resurrection of Jesus is the fundamental event upon which Christian faith rests (cf. 1 Cor 15:14). We commemorate the day of Christ's Resurrection not just once a year but every Sunday and every Holy Day of Obligation. Saint Jerome said: "Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, it is the day of Christians, it is our day". 

For Christians, Sunday is “the fundamental feast day.” Pope John Paul II taught in a 1998 apostolic letter, Dies Domini, the Day of the Lord, the obligation of celebrating the Sunday Eucharist is not an arbitrary law imposed by the Church but "an indispensable element of our Christian identity".

The Christian identity is formed through personal prayer and communal prayer. The Liturgy, particularly the Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy, forms us as Church. We are formed by Word and Sacrament. When we gather as community in Christ we form the Body of Christ in a special way. When we receive the Eucharist, that is, the Body of Christ, we most fully become the Church, that is, the Body of Christ. 

I use this analogy in class: if we don’t regularly attend practice for sports we won’t be able to play in the game. If we cannot follow the rules of the game, we won’t be allowed to play either. So if we don’t practice our faith or abide by the teachings of our  faith, then how can we claim to be Christians?
Sunday Mass attendance (I am slow to use that word because, hopefully, we participate in Mass and not simply punch our ticket) is essential for our faith life as members of the Church. Unfortunately, for some in our culture “faith” or church attendance is nothing more that eternal fire insurance.

In many parts of the world, Christians risk their lives to worship together; martyrs are made every week. Yet for many Christians in the U.S., skipping church is no big deal.
Come join the rest of us hypocritical sinners as we journey to the Kingdom together as broken members of the Body of Christ nourished by His grace, His Word, the Eucharist, and encouraged by one another. God raises up a fallen humanity and calls us to reach for the heights of the kingdom, a kingdom where we are to bring God’s kingdom to the present world: on earth as it is in heaven. 
I pray that it be a lifestyle choice for you and your family.


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