THE SUNDAY OBLIGATION

Remember back when we were kids and mom or dad would say “alright, bedtime”, or “One more time on the slide and it’s time to go.” And we would say, “Awwwhhh, mom/dad, do we have to??!!” That’s how things worked back then. There were things you had to do and things you didn’t have to do. You had to brush your teeth, do your homework, wash up before dinner, clean your room, pick up your clothes, and be home on time.

We had to do these things…..yes, because our parents said so….but more importantly, because they were good things to do. They made life liveable and more enjoyable. They were good for us. We see that now. We didn’t back then. That’s why these good things were backed by the authority of our parents “because I said so”. As adults we do these things on our own now (that’s a sign of being an adult). We do them because we know they are good to do.


So what about Mass on Sunday? A child would ask…”do we have to go?” And the Church (our mother in the faith) says… “if you need to ask, the answer is yes, you have to go.” “Why?”, the child asks. “Because the Lord said so.”, the Church responds. The third Commandment says it — “Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day”. Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me.” Like any good parent, God only asks these things because they are good for us.

My hope for us is that by now we see the wonder and privilege it is to worship the Lord on Sunday. Why do we go to mass on Sundays?

An adult answer might be: “Because……

  • I want to show God that I love Him.
  • I need to thank God for the goodness I have received this week.
  • My life is hard and I need God to help me. We talk about this (God and me) at Mass.
  • Oftentimes I get something I didn’t know I needed.
  • I believe in the Eucharist. This is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. God becomes my food.
  • I need the people gathered with me on Sunday to experience more fully what it means to be members of the Body of Christ.
  • It sets my whole week in the right direction.
  • I get lost without Mass on Sunday.
  • I’m all alone without this experience once a week.
  • Sunday is the day Jesus rose from the dead.

Now I have hope of eternal life. I just have to pause and think about this on Sunday.


Going to mass is only the beginning of “keeping holy the Lord’s Day”. Sometimes we need to look at how we live our Sundays of the week. Do we make them special days of peace, family, rest and recreation? A real spiritual renewal and re-orientation toward God can happen on such a Sunday.

Why not try this? Set aside next Sunday – – all day. Plan only those things that will bring rest and relaxation and participation in the Sunday Mass..

God loves you always,

Fr. Tim