Why do we “have to” go to Mass???

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

Have you ever heard or even muttered the phrase -why do we “have to” go to mass – on a Sunday morning? It would be so much easier to just stay in bed and not hassle with the kids. This session will explore ways to focus on the positive reasons for going to Mass, and the positive change your life can experience from “really” attending Mass.

Objective

Eight years old, or in your eighties, you’ve likely struggled with going to mass at times. Perhaps that spark is not there, that desire to spend time with God and your faith community. You may think mass is boring, you don’t like the homily, or they sing too much. Maybe you convince yourself that you don’t need Mass – you can go outdoors and experience God, or just stay at home in the comfort of your living room.

Even though you know that going to Mass is a good thing, you may focus on the negatives to talk yourself out of it. I’m too busy, too tired, I just get bored, or I can’t focus for thinking about all of the other things I could be doing.

The power of positive thinking can change your entire perspective on Mass and allow you a whole new experience. Thinking about Mass as a special time to connect with God and the people of your parish can help you change your attitude toward Mass. What if you concentrated on the things you like about your parish, the people you say hello to, those things that make you feel good after celebrating Mass. Find positive ways, among the team, that attending Mass affects your day and your week.

Research shows that people who go to church every week are:

  • Less likely to suffer from depression
  • Less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol
  • More likely to have a solid sense of right and wrong
  • More likely to live a longer and happier life

Included below are ten reasons to go to Mass. Perhaps you can make it fun and do a “David Letterman” style top 10 list to lighten the mood and then work your way into the topic discussing the meaningful 10 reasons listed below.

Bible Readings

1. Hebrews 10:24-25

We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.

2. Luke 9:1-6

He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2180

The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.” “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.

2. Paragraphs 1378

Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.”

3. Paragraph 1382

The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.

Small Group Questions

  1. Do you and the family attend Mass regularly? If so, what’s special and what things are a challenge to your attendance.
  2. How do you encourage young children to attend Mass with you and how can they get more out of it?
  3. Do your teenagers or young adults attend Mass with you or alone? If yes, what things can you share about how you succeeded. If no, how might you help change that?

Recommended Resources

  1. Why do we have to go to Mass book: https://www.google.com/url?q=http://catalog.osv.com/Catalog.aspx%3FSimpleDisplay%3Dtrue%26ProductCode%3DX423&sa=U&ei=m8cEUI_IEKre0QG46KimCA&ved=0CAcQFjAB&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFNJ9ayQBhKHeOuu_l0UJnt1-rt5Q
  2. Ten things Catholic Catechists should know: http://www.osv.com/DesktopModules/EngagePublish/printerfriendly.aspx?itemId=8553&PortalId=0&TabId=7621

Accountability

  1. This would be a good week to examine what you get out of Mass and how you can strengthen it.
  2. Talk to children about re-engaging in Mass if they have fallen away.
  3. Prepare for that next time you have to explain to your spouse, youngster, or teen/young adult about the value of attending Mass.

Author(s)

Dan Lape with material supplied by Michael Copfer

Included Resources

Why do we “have to” go to Mass?
https://catalog.osv.com/PDFs%5CP692_web.pdf

1 God asks us to make one day holy. God asks us to set aside one day to refocus physically, mentally, and spiritually. We live in a secular world. Going to Mass helps us to see everything from a different perspective. We begin to see in the depths of our being that God is in charge. We can let go of our own agenda because we know that God will inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us for the week ahead.

2 Jesus gives us the gift of himself. When we go to Mass, we are doing what Jesus commanded his followers to do. It is a command to love and to be loved by God. Jesus offers himself to us in the Word of God that we hear and in his Real Presence, offered to us in the Blessed Sacrament at Communion.

3 We need to be part of a community. When we come together at Mass to pray and worship God, we fulfill a deep need inside of us to be in communion with other people. The other parishioners — even if we don’t know all of them — give us support, affirmation, and encouragement in our attempt to live the Gospel message. They help us to see that we are not alone. They remind us that we are all part of the Body of Christ.

4 God has a special message for us. When we listen to the readings, the homily, and the prayers of the Mass, God speaks to us in a special way. We should come away from each Mass with at least one inspiration that will impact our lives in some way. We just have to pay attention and be open to what the Lord is trying to tell us.

5 We need to talk to God. When we go to Mass, we speak to God through our singing, our communal responses and prayers, and our personal prayers from the depths of our hearts. During the Mass, we have the opportunity to ask God for what we need, promise God that we will do what He wants us to do, and thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.

6 People need our prayers. We can pray for other people anytime, but when we pray for others during Mass, we pray in a special way. It doesn’t matter if the other people are separated from us by distance or by death. The Mass brings us together in the Body of Christ, and we become the communion of saints. It is part of the cosmic dimension of the Mass that unites heaven and earth by reaching across time and space.

7 We need to stand up for what we believe. Being a follower of Jesus is counter-cultural. At every Mass, we have the opportunity to stand up and proclaim what we believe publicly. We admit that we believe in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, in the Catholic Church, in the communion of saints, in the forgiveness of sins, and in life after death. It is a powerful statement of allegiance and an opportunity to recommit ourselves.

8 We need to acknowledge that we make mistakes. At every Mass, we have the opportunity to review the past week. We admit that we have sinned in thought, in word, in deed, in what we have done and what we have failed to do. We seek forgiveness, and we are assured that God still loves us. Before we receive Communion, we admit that we are not worthy and ask God to heal us. Going to Mass helps us to strengthen our commitment to live moral lives.

9 We need ritual in our lives. Mass is a ritual, which means that through the repetition of prayers, movements, and the changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, we are formed, disciplined, and consoled. The “sameness” of the Mass carries us along the spiritual journey — even when we don’t “feel” like praying. The “sameness” of the ritual allows us to be transformed on a soul level, even if we are unaware of what is happening.

10 We need to experience something bigger than ourselves. When we go to Mass, we share in the death and resurrection of Jesus. When we offer our ordinary lives to God through Jesus, we enter into God’s great plan for the world. We are strengthened by the Eucharist and sent out into the world to bring the Gospel message to all people. The Mass gives meaning and purpose to our lives. It gives us a sense of destiny and offers the kind of peace that the world cannot give. It helps us develop a sense of wonder and awe. It helps us to see that there is something bigger than ourselves.

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