Sunday Mass Requirement

Why is it a mortal sin to intentionally miss mass on Sunday? I can’t find anything in the bible that states that it is a requirement to go to mass every Sunday in order to be saved. The commandment to “keep holy the sabbath” referred to the practice of following all the requirements of the law pertaining to the period of time between nightfall on Friday until nightfall on Saturday, and ended with the establishment of the new covenant. Another way to look at my original question is: what if someone decides he will go to mass on Wednesdays, instead of Sundays, because this better fits his schedule. Or maybe he will be travelling on Sunday, so he goes to mass on Saturday that one week. Why does it matter which day he goes? Reference Romans 14:5-- “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” (NIV)

The answer to your question is: It is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday, because the Church says it is. Jesus gave the Church (not the bible) the authority to declare what is loose or bound on Earth and in heaven.

The first and third commandments. Sacrosanctum Concilium states:“Apostolic tradition of the Church is, from the very day of the resurrection of Christ, to celebrate the Pasch every eight days, on the day which is called the day of the Lord”
Sunday replaced the Sabbath as the Lord’s Day because it was the day of Resurrection. Luke 24:30-35 shows that it was Sunday when the resurrected Jesus “took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.”

Christians began to celebrate the memorial then on Sunday.

The official stance of the catholic church is that they do not establish any new doctrines, but only affirm or clarify the doctrine held by the apostles. I quoted the words of the apostle Paul. I disagree that the words of the bible have no authority. To say that it’s a mortal sin just because the church says it is, sounds pretty weak to me.

I realize that the early church selected Sunday as their day of gathering together because of its connection with the day of Christ’s resurrection, but many of them also met on other days of the week. I believe if you follow Paul’s words on the subject, there is no requirement to attend a worship service on Sundays. It seems that the catholic church’s requirement to attend mass on Sunday, rather than any other day of the week, is in contradiction to the teaching of the apostle Paul, as I quoted in my previous post.

Hi Lek. I’ll start with the Romans quote. You’ll notice the surrounding text of v.5 refers largely to eating (or fasting). It was customary for early Christians to fast on Wed. and Fri. This is also noted in the Didache, a first century catechism:

8:1 Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Paul is here referring to the fact that these days of fast (or eating) are a discipline and not morally binding in and of themselves, so he warns not to scandalize weaker Christian brothers by imposing on them morally benign issues.

The Sabbath day observance, which was primarily rest to remind us of our dependency on God for our welfare (think of work-a-holics that see themselves as self-made men) and did not end with the New Covenant, exactly. Both the Sabbath day and Lord’s Day were observed in certain areas even in the 5th century. Sabbath honored God’s creation while the Lord’s Day honored the new creation with His resurrection. The Sabbath was eventually dropped as the Christians and Jewish festivals could no longer be reconciled to worship Jesus.

The Scriptures record several times of gathering together to break bread on the Lord’s Day and its central importance to Christian worship. And so it is even today. Sunday is a Holy Day and, as such, we are required to gather together and commune with one another, celebrating the Eucharist as the center of our liturgical worship. This sacrifice is not taken lightly and certainly wasn’t in the first century either. This tradition has been handed down, Early Father’s writings attest to this, in every generation to the present. We should be worshiping God every day, but Sunday is a Holy Day when we gather to offer sacrifice and receive the Bread of Life. To neglect this sacrifice to serve oneself instead is indeed a sin. Hope that helps.

Thanks for your well thought out reply. I disagree, though, with your interpretation of the verse I presented which I’ll show in its context:

“14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:1-6 NIV.

He discusses eating only vegetables or eating everything. Then he discusses considering one day more sacred that another. He’s giving examples of various christians’ beliefs that were non-essential to salvation. There’s really nothing tying the example of special days specifically to days of fasting by going back to another issue mentioned in Chapter 8.

There Paul is speaking of not judging your brother and does not address the authority of the Church to designate a day of obligation.

It became Christian tradition. Tertulian wrote: “We, however (just as tradition has taught us), on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection ought to guard not only against kneeling, but every posture and office of solicitude, deferring even our businesses lest we give any place to the devil” (“De orat.”, xxiii; cf. “Ad nation.”, I, xiii; “Apolog.”, xvi) - From Catholic Encyclopedia.

The Sabbath was the dedication of one day of the week to God and abstaining from work. It is observed as a community and thereby shows solidarity and gives witness to the faith. By the sixth century is was obligatory to observe Sunday.

Are you here with sincere questions about the Catholic faith, or are you trying to bash the Church and/or simply argue with us about our most beautiful faith? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but the way this is worded…reminds me of my sister who will not even step foot into a parish building if she can help it.

Anyways, it is a good thing to remember that the Catholic Church created the Bible, the Bible did not create the Catholic Church. There was a period of a few hundred years when the Christians were coming together to celebrate the Eucharist and did not even have the Word. They were instructed by various letters that were circulated around, some of which were compiled during the Councils of Hippo to become the Bible Catholics now use and love. We believe that while everything in our faith cannot EVER contradict what is in the Bible, the Word is not the sole authority, and the Bible does not hold ALL the truths of the faith in it. Those early Christians were also instructed by the oral teachings and traditions of the apostles. This is what St Paul was referring to when he said in 2 Thessalonians 2:15. “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”

So, with that in mind, we believe that in the upper room Jesus instituted the Eucharist. I’m going to make the assumption that you have already read from the catechism or some other trustworthy Catholic source what we believe about the Eucharist. From the very beginnings of the Church we were dedicated to the Eucharist. You can see this again in Acts 2:42 “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, **to the **breaking of bread and to prayer.” As the Catechism says, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (1324)

Catholicism, in a way, came out of Judaism. Remember, Christ did not abolish the law but fulfilled it. So now we don’t have levitical priests who sacrifice animals, we have Catholic priests who celebrate the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We hallow Sunday, the Lord’s Day, by devoting that day to Him. What better way to give a day to the Lord than by participating in a Mass? A Sacrament Christ Himself instituted that has everything to do with his crucifixion and resurrection? The Mass is how we Christians come together as a community and worship the way Jesus has asked us to, by receiving communion together. If we were to refuse to go to Mass on a Sunday it would be denying being part of that communion, denying our need for the Eucharist, denying the unity of the Church, and denying Christ the chance to give Himself to us in the manner He desires to.

Also, the Eucharist is a thanksgiving. The word “eucharist” actually means thanksgiving. Seeing as Sunday is a day set aside for God it makes sense to give thanks to Him in the greatest way possible. And, lastly, Jesus went to the synagogue every Sabbath. It is fitting that we would want to imitate Jesus in every way possible so we would of course want to have our communal worship (communion!) on Sunday, when all us Catholics are to get together and worship God in the way He instructed us to.

“Do this, as often as you do it, in remembrance of Me” Paul wrote. The Apostles met and broke the bread every Sunday.

If you willingly miss the sacrifice of the mass, you are telling God that He is less important than the game, than a sightseeing trip, than shopping, than sleeping in.

Do we want to face Christ in judgment and tell Him that?

We are to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength. Where is our love, how is it demonstrated to Him when we blow off the mass and seek personal, worldly pleasure?

Thank you for the total context of the passage; it is important, I also have read it. You are always free to reject my views. However, you must realize that since you are asking a Catholic these questions, (which is great), that Catholics don’t read Sacred Scripture apart from the culture of people and the everyday reality of those people. These realities, whether written in Sacred Scripture, or played out by the people, must reflect the same truth. So we depend on additional writings from this period of time to aid us in understanding what the Scriptures are referring to, and the living tradition of the Church is important to us for that understanding.

Not only was there numerous commentary on these passages given to reflect fasting of days, but it is also how at least some early Protestant reformers saw it as well. This verse was one that was used during the reformation to oppose the Catholic teaching on fasting, positing that it was proof that fasting on days was not necessary, specifically the discipline of not eating meat on Friday. We discipline ourselves starting on Friday to focus our mind “bringing the body to subjection of wanton desires” to prepare for the reception of our Lord in the Eucharist. But since Calvin and others denied Jesus being truly present in the Eucharist, they saw no need to prepare oneself for it.

In its role to affirm and or clarify the doctrines held by the apostles and by the power given The Church by Jesus (Matthew 16:19) The Church clarify what is meant by “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11) By that same power The Church may and did spell out the consequences of not remembering the Sabbath and not keeping it holy.

As to eating or not eating, the following, also written for us by Saint Paul, still applies today:

Colossians 2:16 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.

And, let us not for get the words of our Savior:

Luke 5:35 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

35 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

See, you seem to have forgotten that Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ Himself tells us in Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 that ***“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”***and "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
So then, you can plainly see that the church was given the power and authority to bind and loose all things for Him. So then how can this simple and edifying mandate which is for the benefit of all of us be wrong. Furthermore, it follows the commandment to keep holy the Lord’s day, which here again know what we know what Our Lord tells us in John 14:15 ***[FONT=Palatino Linotype]“If you love me, keep my commands.”***[/FONT]

So then how again is the teaching of the Catholic Church wrong? :shrug:

Because of the first exercise of that binding and loosing power (Acts 15), neither Lek, nor you, nor I have to find a Rabbi with a sharp instrument.

Yes, at the end of the day…THIS^^^.
This is where the rubber hits the road.
Thank you.

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