It is important to read a scripture in context, not take an isolated sentence or verse out and attempt to interpret it out of the context of both the book to which it belongs, and the wider scripture.
Reading the whole of Col 2, we see that St. Paul (and considering his braoder themes) is talking about is first and foremost about casting asside the expectations of the Jewish or pagan cultures and religions.
In the Jewish faith there were strict rules on the observance of the Sabbath, the New Moon, and various other feasts. There was very strict Kosher laws governing all aspects of behaviours and ritual cleanliness
In Pagan cultures there were often similar rules.
St. Paul tells us in almost every one of his letters, that it is not the observance of the “Works of the Law” (or just “Works”)… i.e. following the rules of ritual cleanliness, and religious observance, which grants us favour with God, but it is a true conversion of Heart. Belief in him, followed by Faith in Him, followed by a total following of His Law, and rejection of the World. -We must live in the world, but not of it.
However does this mean that there is no law for Christians? Absoloutely not!!!
Jesus tells us that he will do away with the Law written on Stone and replace it with his followers observing the Living Law written on our Hearts. The church calls this "Natural Law.
While the Law of Moses is fullfilled in Jesus, Natural Law, as a guide to human morality is very accurately summed up in the 10 commandments (but this is not it’s source… just a usefull summary)
it is summarised more succinctly in Jesus 2 commandments:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart all your soul and all your mind.
- Love your neighbour as yourself.
Jesus also told us: “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for Man”
The 3rd Commandment is “Keep Holy the Sabbath Day”… Replaced with “The Lord’s Day”
Man needs Rest. Man needs to Worship God. Man needs to be part of the Church - the Body of Christ.
To deliberately reject the Common worship of God, through Christ, on the Lords day, is to reject His Church. It is to cut oneself off from the Vine: When a branch is cut off from the vine it will wither and die.
Now… on top of this: it is not the judgment of other people we should be concerened with regarding how we worship God… It is how our worship or lack there of will affect our relationship with Christ, and our ability to accept his free gift of Grace…
His Grace requires our co-operation - that is what Faith is. It is far more than just an intellectual “Belief”. it is putting our trust in Him, and doing what He says.
He said that the Apostles would found His church. He said they had the power to Bind and Loose. He said we must be part of His Church. He said “Do this in my memory”. He said: “Whoever does not eat my flesh and drink my blood will have no life within him.”
If due to some pressure I fail to make it to mass on any given Sunday, through some confluence of avoidable circumstances but without a deliberate decision to skip it, then I am doing to my relationship with Christ what a Woman does to her fianceé when she calls up to apologise and cancel a date. - It’s not going to be the end of the world if its only occasional… but she should make sure to apologise.
On the other hand, if she refuses to meet him or very frequently stands him up then she is clearly not attempting to foster the relationship, and is very likely to not continue in a state of loving friendship. In some cases such behaviour will rapidly lead to or directly end the relationship.
A “Mortal Sin” is a sin which is sufficient on it’s own to sever our relationship with Jesus, and make us unwilling or unable to accept His Love and Forgivness should we meet him face to Face.
What the church teaches is that this act (deliberately missing liturgical worship on Sundays and Holy Days) is “Grave Matter”.
For something to be a “Mortal Sin”. it must meet 3 criteria:
- it must constitute “Grave Matter”
- It must be freely consented to (it’s not a mortal sin if you’re forced, or in some other way are not free to make your own decision)
- you must know that the matter is Grave.
To reject the teaching of the importance of rest and worship on The Lords Day is to reject the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Church. this is very Grave matter.
To accept this teaching, but to refuse to attend Mass on sundays without just cause is also grave matter, carried out in full knowledge of the churches teaching.
To do so when you have a clear free choice is likely to constitute a Mortal Sin, God truly knows what your current state of grace is.