“Do I HAVE to go to Mass every Sunday?”
Kids say it. Adults say it. Maybe you’ve asked yourself that question too.
If so, read on!
The short answer to that question is “Yes.” But there’s way more to it than that. Let’s look at three reasons why Catholics go to Mass every Sunday.
1. God tells us to.
At first, this may not seem very inspiring. God commands it: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” So we just have to obey, then?
Actually, we’re not talking about slavish obedience here.
Whenever God tells us to do something, it’s for our own good. Every commandment God ever gave is designed to help us live a life that makes us truly happy!
So why do we have to go to Mass EVERY Sunday? When you go to Mass on Sunday, you receive tons of graces to help you tackle daily stress, conquer your vices, and grow closer to God.
Those graces come from the Eucharist.
When it comes to things Jesus told us to do, we like to remember the ones like “Love your enemies” and “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” But he also said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” That was at the Last Supper, when he took bread and wine and offered up the first Eucharist. And he was thinking of ALL of us when he said that.
The Catholic Church calls the Eucharist “the source and summit of the Christian life.” When we receive the Eucharist, we receive Jesus Himself. What an incredible gift!
When we go to Mass every Sunday, we are strengthened and nourished there like we can’t be anywhere else.
2. We were made for it.
You were created by God to know Him and love Him. But you were not created to know and love God all by yourself.
By the fact that you’re human, you are made for community. We all naturally desire to have some kind of connection with others. That’s how God created us.
And by the fact that you’re baptized, you are a member of the Body of Christ. We all belong to Christ together. Therefore, we are not only meant to pray to God individually, we are meant to do it together.
That’s what we do every Sunday at Mass.
The members of the Body of Christ are baptized to come together every Sunday to worship God together. In fact, the word “Church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” meaning an assembly or a people called by God. We pray together. We listen to the Word of God together. We receive the Eucharist together.
When you do these things at Mass, you focus your mind and your heart on God. Just doing that for one hour makes a HUGE difference in your life. It forms you into the kind of person God made you to be.
When we go to Mass every Sunday, we are living like the Body of Christ.
3. The Mass gets you ready for Heaven.
It would be odd if you showed up at someone’s house and expected them to let you live there — especially if you weren’t ready to live with them, or didn’t even know them very well.
Likewise, it would be odd (and sad) if you showed up at Heaven’s gate expecting to go in, but you weren’t really prepared to live there.
St. John Henry Newman once gave a brilliant sermon about this very idea. He said going to church prepares us for the “future glorious and most wonderful destiny, the sight of God,—a destiny which, if not most glorious, will be most terrible.” His point: meeting God face-to-face someday will not be easy. Going to church prepares you to meet God with joy and not with terror. You might say it makes you “fit for Heaven.”
Here’s why: Every Sunday at Mass you get a taste of what Heaven is like.
Now don’t panic — that doesn’t mean Heaven will be full of crying babies and perhaps some less-than-stellar Church music. It does mean that in Heaven, all the angels and saints are praising God and basking in the sheer glory of living with Him. And at every single Mass, we get to join in that. We sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” together with the angels and saints. We hear the Word of God spoken to us. We receive Christ in the Eucharist, a foretaste of abiding with Him forever in Heaven.
All the things you do at Mass: the standing, the kneeling, the responses — and yes, even the singing — are like spiritual exercises that make your soul fit for a glorious life in Heaven.
When we go to Mass every Sunday, we participate in the life of Heaven.
So the next time you hear, “Do we HAVE to go to Mass every Sunday?”, think of it not so much as an obligation but as the most incredible gift.
We’ve only scratched the surface on what makes the Catholic Mass so special. Want to learn more? Check out these resources at the uCatholic Store:
- The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn
- A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri
- Catechism of the Catholic Church