Is it a sin to attend a non-catholic service instead of a Catholic Mass, when one (a mass) is available? If not does it fufill our Sunday obligation to “Keep holy the Lord’s day”?:
You’ve got to be kidding! Holy Mass is not just a Catholic equivalent of a non-Catholic church service. There is nothing on the face of the earth that can compare with what happens and has happened on Catholic altars every day throughout the world since Our Lord sacrificed Himself on the cross over 2,000 years ago. The moment in which He died is an eternal moment, transcending time and covering every human life that has ever been or ever will be. But that eternal moment also remains IN time as the Eucharist. His body and blood become present when His priests repeat His words at the Last Supper as He commanded them, “Do this!” When His priest holds up His body and blood in the form of bread and wine and says: “Through Him and with Him and in Him O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours forever and ever,” the priest is not offering his own sacrifice; he is offering the same sacrifice that Jesus offered on the cross. Only now, we are present and affirm Christ’s great self–gift with our great “AMEN!”
What is so important about Mass does not consist of what a mere human being does, but by what Jesus Christ does through a mere human being. It is the presence of Jesus on the altar that words cannot adequately describe and the human mind cannot fully take in. We are talking GOD here.
No mere church service can fulfill a Catholic’s obligation to keep holy the Lord’s Day. To choose something other than Mass for a Catholic is futile—and if he knows better, mortally sinful! At Mass each one can adore the Lord Jesus Christ and has the supreme privilege of receiving Him into one’s very person in the holiest of Communions. I encourage you to reflect on His Passion. Being aware of all the He endured for us, helps us to appreciate His Presence in such personal intimacy.
I will remember you and all who read this at Mass tomorrow.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.