Going to church every Sunday is one of the most basic traditions that we associate with our Catholic faith. We have been taught to go to church and attend mass at an early age but is it really necessary for Catholics? Is going to church every Sunday still relevant in today’s times?
Why Should We Go To Church?
God and Jesus Christ commanded us
When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” Luke 22:14-19
In the third commandment, God tells us to “Remember the sabbath day” and to “keep it holy.” When we go to church on Sunday, we humbly obey this important command and acknowledge the value of the sabbath not just in the Catholic faith but in our personal lives.
Jesus, too, put great importance in going to church. Before His crucifixion, he instituted the first mass at the Last Supper. By attending mass, we commemorate the Lord’s Supper and recognize the great sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us.
The Holy Eucharist is an important symbol of our Catholic Faith and we get the wonderful opportunity to receive it during Mass. The bread and win, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ so when we partake of the Holy Eucharist, we are actually receiving Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church commanded us
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19
The Catechism of the Catholic Church prescribes that we must attend mass on Sundays and all Holy Days of Obligation. This is one of the precepts of the Church and we must keep in mind that the Church speaks with the authority of Jesus Christ. The Church is God’s instrument of faith and morality here on earth so we are to obey its instructions.
We grow as individuals
But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,* and all these things will be given you besides. Matthew 6:33
Going to church is not just a basic Catholic tenet, it is a way for us to nurture our faith and grow spiritually. We are very fortunate that we are able to freely access our churches and attend mass any time we want to. The early Christians were subject to great torture because of their religious beliefs. They were persecuted yet, despite all the hardships they had to face, they persisted and continued to practice their faith.
Like the early Christians, we must also be passionate in the way we express our belief in God and one of that is to seek His presence during Mass. By going to church, we open ourselves up to God and receive His word through our local priest. God’s Word is food for our soul and we are nourished by it.
We grow as one spiritual family
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16
Being part of a church means we become part of God’s spiritual family. We are all made to be social beings. “No man is an island” as the popular saying goes. When we go to mass, we grow not just as an individual Catholic but as a member of a bigger Catholic community. It is similar to us being a student of a school. Our education would not be complete without the help of our professors, school administrators and classmates. In the same way, each of us makes up the entire church and together we help one another reach our full potential. We are accountable for one another, we worship God together and we rebuke one another if we sin. Our spiritual journey is certainly more enriching and insightful when it is shared with other people who share our beliefs.
What Should We Do In Church?
When we understand the true purpose and privilege of going to church, we begin to look forward to it. We no longer feel as if attending mass is a commandment that we are required to fulfill but a beautiful opportunity to worship God, express our love for him and connect with our fellow Christians.
Here are some of the things we can do to make our time in the church more meaningful:
Learn from God’s Word
The Church can be a place to have a life-changing experience. God’s Word, as delivered by our priest, is a treasure trove of lessons we can use for navigating our life. Don’t just passively listen to the church sermon, find practical ways to apply it in your life.
Worship from the heart
Music and songs are a traditional part of mass. These songs are a beautiful way for us to express our love to our Heavenly Father. Feel God’s presence the next time you sing at mass. Use this time to truly worship and reveal our heartfelt devotion to the Almighty.
Fellowship with other church-goers
After the mass, connect with your fellow church-goers. This is a wonderful time to fellowship with fellow Christians and share what we have learned from the Sunday gathering. Remember that our church is our spiritual family and like any family, we should foster our connection with one another.
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