Question: Kevin Campe, one of our PREP 4B students, asks, “Father, why do we have to go to Church?”
Father Kevin: Kevin, an excellent question, the answer to which I’m sure you are learning from our catechists in our excellent religious education program. The answer can begin with the reminder that God, in His Wisdom and Grace, commanded His people in handing down the 10 Commandments to Moses to observe a weekly day of rest in praise and thanksgiving for God’s work of Creation (Exodus 20:8-11) and His redemptive work. The fourth commandment calls all Christians “To Keep Holy the Sabbath.” Attending Mass is an act of obedience to God and it honors the Lord’s Day. Not attending is dishonoring God. It is a mortal sin and takes us out of a state of Grace.
More so, it is in Church, at Mass, that we come together as a community of faith – as the Body of Christ — in worship and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is in prayer at Mass that we experience God’s Love for us and unify ourselves with Jesus Christ in acknowledging both our sins and God’s teaching of the Truth in the Liturgy of the Word. It is at Mass, led by the priest, that we come together as a family of believers (Hebrews 10:25, 1 Corinthians 12:27) in encouragement of one another as believers in our Catholic faith.
Kevin, we have no better example than Jesus Himself, who went to church (synagogue) regularly in Nazareth. He was with his parents, Mary and Joseph, in church. Learning. Praising God, His Father. Meeting other believers, and eventually Teaching.
I pray that more families will rediscover the joy of attending Mass together, as so many do as a family here at St. Gens. There is little sadder for me as a priest than a child expressing a love of God and a desire to be at Mass and receive the Eucharist but can’t be because the parents don’t go. Let us pray for all those who make other things more important than attending Mass on Sundays. One day, they will have to answer Why?