Going to church on Sunday, keeping holy the Sabbath


#1

Alright. This is something I’m not very familiar with that I’m coming up against.

How do you respond to people who wholeheartedly agree that you should ‘keep holy the sabbath,’ but don’t think going to church necessarily is what you need to do?

(They are not Catholics, they are Protestants.)


#2

Since the Church is the “pillar and foundation of faith” I think that they are ignorant of Scripture. The NT talks of the disciples meeting together for worship and the Jews met in the synagogues each Saturday to read the Torah and sing the psalms.

The early Church met in the synagogues on Saturday, then gathered on the ‘first day of the week’ the Lord’s Day, for the breaking of bread Acts 20: 7. They also contributed to the support of the Church on Sundays 1 Cor. 16:2

Jesus gave the Church the power to change the ‘Sabbath’ from Saturday to Sunday when He said to Peter “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” Matt. 16:19

The Didache stated: “On the Lord’s Day of the Lord gather together, break bread and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure…” (C. 90-150 A.D.)

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology C. 67 (C. 155 A.D.) * wrote:* “We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day (after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day) when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.” **

Those who think we don’t need to ‘go to church’ to fulfill our obligation to “keep the Sabbath day holy” are deluding themselves.

In the OT God required His people to gather in the synagogues and the Temple to worship Him communally and with specific liturgy and ritual that He had prescribed. Why would anyone think that they can worship God properly when they ignore the teaching of millenia, both in the OT and the Nt, and do what feels okay to them?


#3

Christians DO NOT have to “Keep holy the Sabbath day” (which is Saturday, the seventh day of the week) for that was part of the old mosaic law.

However Christians are bound to keep the “heart” of that law and the Church has stated that going to Holy Mass on Sunday and refraining from certain forms of labor on Sunday and also attending Holy Mass on Holy Days of Obligation constitutes keeping the heart of that law.

Ken


#4

I thought Christ came to fulfill the law, not change it.


#5

[quote=MamaSusie]I thought Christ came to fulfill the law, not change it.
[/quote]

He did fulfill it, that is why it ceased to exist. Just as when you fulfill a debt, you dont continue to pay on it. etc…


#6

I think the reason we must attend (besides the obvious reasons of the grace and sanctification we receive through the Eucharist and reading the Word, etc.) is that we are part of the true Body of Christ (Romans 12:5, 1 Cor 6:15, 1 Cor 12:27). Eph 4:11-16 says that our mission is to build up the body of Christ through ministry and per our vocations; this will make the body, the Church, grow.

“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” (Acts 20:28)

I don’t know how you can fulfill Christ’s command to evangelize and minister in the Body of Christ if you are not involved.


#7

[quote=SDA2RC]He did fulfill it, that is why it ceased to exist. Just as when you fulfill a debt, you dont continue to pay on it. etc…
[/quote]

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

You are mistaken. God’s law is eternal and it is good. Fulfilling the law does not abolish it. Only He could fulfill. That is the point. The law is not a debt to be paid it is God’s eternal decree.

You don’t think the ten Commandments have ceased to exist do you? Because that is what The Law means. If you reallybelieve that it has ceased then can I go steal something? :wink:

Mel


#8

There’s a verse in Hebrews 10 (forget the exact verse) which states, “do not neglect the public assembly, as some do”. That on top of the 3rd Commandment seems pretty conclusive to me.


#9

The teaching of the Church on Sunday Obligation has been a problem for me for many years. I am a cradle catholic and would not miss Mass simply because I did not feel like going. However, is it not time that the Church dropped the obligation to attend. If we really understand the Eucharist for what it is should the Church continue to ‘oblige’ us to attend? How can we truly want to go to Mass, if we have to go to Mass?


#10

[quote=Roz]The teaching of the Church on Sunday Obligation has been a problem for me for many years. I am a cradle catholic and would not miss Mass simply because I did not feel like going. However, is it not time that the Church dropped the obligation to attend. If we really understand the Eucharist for what it is should the Church continue to ‘oblige’ us to attend? How can we truly want to go to Mass, if we have to go to Mass?
[/quote]

I don’t understand the last question at all: I may have to go to Mass, but I also want to go to Mass and so usually go more than my obligation requires. There’s not a dichotomy there. It’s a bit like a kid with a parent: the kid may not feel like eating his vegetables, but has to do so until he matures and realizes for himself that eating vegetables is good, and so will do so without having been told. The difference here is maturity: the mature faith goes because it understands why Mass is so important, and indeed would not think of missing. However, the obligation serves us well in those cases when we regress, so to speak, and fall back into a rebellious, childish mode. The obligation sees us through those times. I have an obligation to treat my spouse well, no matter what the passing mood of the moment is. That obligation ultimately fosters good habits in me that make the feelings of love for my spouse more deep, more frequent, and leads to expressions on my part of more love.


#11

However, is it not time that the Church dropped the obligation to attend. If we really understand the Eucharist for what it is should the Church continue to ‘oblige’ us to attend? How can we truly want to go to Mass, if we have to go to Mass?

The Church, as teacher and mother, knows what is best for us. We are obliged to go to Mass on every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation-as a bare minimum. This is the Church using the Power of the Keys-the Pope or Church in unison with him can bind under pain of mortal sin when said Pope and/or Church in unison with him decides it is in the best interest of the Faithful. If the obligation was removed, I’m sure even more people would go the route of skipping church and sluffing off.

If we really understand the Eucharist as we should, why wouldn’t we want to come to Mass as often as possible, daily according to one’s schedule? Also, if we understand the Church as we should, why wouldn’t we lovingly obey Her commands?


#12

Thank you Sherlock and ComeradeAndrei for your responses to my post on the need for Sunday obligation, I also want to go to Mass, and for this reason do go during the week - not everyday as my lifestyle doesn’t allow it. I would also like to go on Sundays because I want to, but feel the imposed obligation takes away from this. It is very true that if we really understood the Eucharist we would want to be at Mass as often as possible. Why then do we need to be obliged to go? Would it not be better to have a Mass attended gladly by those who want to be there? Does the Church need those who would ‘sluff off’ without the obligation? As regards the analogy with the child being made to eat his vegetables until he is mature enough to realise that they are good for him, - the child is not ( or I hope not!) being told that not eating up his veg is a mortal sin


#13

[quote=Roz]. I would also like to go on Sundays because I want to, but feel the imposed obligation takes away from this.
[/quote]

I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand this. Do you have a problem with authority in general?

[quote=Roz]. It is very true that if we really understood the Eucharist we would want to be at Mass as often as possible. Why then do we need to be obliged to go?
[/quote]

Because we have a fallen human nature. Sure, it would be great if every single day, every single minute, we advanced in holiness and did not regress. But we do, and for those times it is good to have a “duty” to do the right thing even if we don’t “feel” like doing it. I know without a shred of doubt that if the Church were to make Mass attendance optional (and I’m not even sure she has that authority), then people would suddenly find more and more reasons for not attending, and would feel less and less like ever going, and would regress even further than a minimalist faith permits. Just look what happened when the Church decreed that we do not have to abstain from meat on Fridays: it didn’t result solely in Catholics eating meat while observing some other penance, but resulted in the erosion of Catholics doing ANY kind of Friday observance. It’s not just about “feelings”, it’s about what is objectively due God.

[quote=Roz].Would it not be better to have a Mass attended gladly by those who want to be there?
[/quote]

Sure, it would be great if everyone at every Mass was always happy to be there. That’s not the measure, however, of whether or not they should go. You are perhaps missing the objective requirement for public worship (3rd Commandment, bolstered by Hebrews 10:25—what part of “we should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some” is unclear?). You are too concerned with subjective, volatile feelings. Habits of virtue are never formed by simply using our feelings as a guide for what and what not to do.

[quote=Roz].Does the Church need those who would ‘sluff off’ without the obligation?
[/quote]

Yes, because the Church is trying to save souls. It’s not a question of the Church “needing” them but rather them needing the Church. Someone who is not “in the mood” to go to Church is far more likely to receive the cure for that spiritual sickness at Mass than outside the doors of the Church.

[quote=Roz].As regards the analogy with the child being made to eat his vegetables until he is mature enough to realise that they are good for him, - the child is not ( or I hope not!) being told that not eating up his veg is a mortal sin
[/quote]

My point in the analogy is that it is objectively healthy to eat vegetables, and objectively unhealthy to eat nothing but desserts. If a parent loved a child, would they let that child do whatever he wanted in regards to food? Eat whatever they want (and let’s face it, that means dessert), whenever they want, because they feel like it? It would be a false love that would let a child harm himself before that child matures. And a person who rebels against legitimate Church authority is not, in my opinion, spiritually mature, and so the Church wisely has guidelines.


#14

In th “Old days” many people went to Sunday Mass because they feared going to hell for missing. In our times people will not buy into that. Surely people should be wanting to go to church because they love God and the Eucharist? If compulsory Sunday attendance were abolished would it really make for a loss in numbers and, if it did, would it matter? If we are left with a leaven of true believers who want to go to Church it might mean a smaller but more meaningful Church.


#15

[quote=maklavan]In th “Old days” many people went to Sunday Mass because they feared going to hell for missing. In our times people will not buy into that. Surely people should be wanting to go to church because they love God and the Eucharist? If compulsory Sunday attendance were abolished would it really make for a loss in numbers and, if it did, would it matter? If we are left with a leaven of true believers who want to go to Church it might mean a smaller but more meaningful Church.
[/quote]

Then we already have that smaller Church, because you’ve stated that people don’t “buy into” the idea of mortal sin and hell. Regardless of what people of any age happen to “feel” like (and this age worships feelings over objective truth), the Church still has to provide guidance for the salvation of souls. If someone doesn’t think they have to obey the Third Commandment, then the Church’s statement that they need to do so is not going to make a difference. If keeping the Third Commandment (for whatever reason, fear of hell or because they want to) is important, then they will go. The Church is only restating the Third Commandment, not inventing it.


#16

More casualties from the “spiritual, but not religious” mindset.

I also do not understand you, Roz. You like going to Mass, but you don’t like it that we are “required” to go on Sundays? To me, that is tantamount to saying that, "yes, God, I know your commandments and all, but I really think that MY PERSONAL INTERPRETATION works much better for me. I’m still worshiping you, but I am doing it in MY time, in MY way, so that I AM THE ONE IN CHARGE. (this is not against you personally but simply reflects how that idea might appear to many Catholics)


#17

To answer a Protestant, you need to quote the Bible…" Let no one, then, pass judgment on you in matters of food and drink or with regard to a festival or new moon or sabbath." Colossians 2:16


#18

[quote=Tantum ergo]More casualties from the “spiritual, but not religious” mindset.

I also do not understand you, Roz. You like going to Mass, but you don’t like it that we are “required” to go on Sundays? To me, that is tantamount to saying that, "yes, God, I know your commandments and all, but I really think that MY PERSONAL INTERPRETATION works much better for me. I’m still worshiping you, but I am doing it in MY time, in MY way, so that I AM THE ONE IN CHARGE. (this is not against you personally but simply reflects how that idea might appear to many Catholics)
[/quote]

Thank you for your reply , Tantum ergo. I’m really not sure how you have interpreted my original letter to indicate that I think that my personal interpretation works better for me, or that I worship in my time and in my way. It is not going to Mass on Sunday that I query. It is the OBLIGATION to go to Mass on Sunday that I find comes between me and my wanting to go to Mass. From my delvings into Church history I know that the early Christians met to celebrate the Eucharist whenever and wherever they could, but it was much later in the history of the early Church that the obligation to attend was inposed.


#19

Thank you, Sherlock for your response.

I assure you I have no problem at all with authority, and accept reasonable and reasoned authority without difficulty. For instance to drive on the right side of the road (here in the UK, the left! ) is very reasonable and obvious - the result of disobedience would be a major accident.

How can you know, without a shred of doubt that if the church dropped the OBLIGATION to attend Mass on Sunday, less and less people would attend? How do you know that, because Catholics are no longer observing Friday by not eating meat, they are not doing some other form of self denial? Remember God asks us not to advertise the fact that we do penance. I take you back to my original point - the contradiction between a God of love who gave us the Eucharist, and the Church, which latter then obliges us to attend that Sacrament of His Love, under pian of mortal sin.


#20

[quote=maklavan]In th “Old days” many people went to Sunday Mass because they feared going to hell for missing. In our times people will not buy into that. Surely people should be wanting to go to church because they love God and the Eucharist? If compulsory Sunday attendance were abolished would it really make for a loss in numbers and, if it did, would it matter? If we are left with a leaven of true believers who want to go to Church it might mean a smaller but more meaningful Church.
[/quote]

Thank you, Maklavan, for reading my letter. It’s wonderful that you have understood my point. Alleluia


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