The first reading for today opens by stating, “to keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering.” Sir 35:1. This reading seems fitting in light of my diocese’s proclamation that after the feast of Pentecost, the holy obligation to attend Mass in person will be reinstated. This decree may require a sacrifice for some. Accepting this obligation once more means that we as a community of God must reunite again. As people throughout this nation and this world prepare to come together again, there is no doubt great joy, but there may also be great fear.
With more people entering their churches, there are more chances to subject ourselves to unknown dangers. With this fear of the unknown and the sacrifice in confronting it are many blessings. Jesus Himself said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age.” Mark 10:29. It seems appropriate that on Pentecost this decree of returning to Mass in person is reinstated. Over the past year, people came together agreeing to keep separate to protect each other, but now it is time to unite under a new belief, the belief and trust that Jesus truly is our Savior and He wants us to engage in the struggles of this world together, not apart.
The coming of the Holy Spirit promises protection and salvation. Sacrifice brings companionship with our Lord. God created us to be unified and not divided. There is a miraculous strength when the church is filled with people praising Him. As we all return to holy Mass, we are returning home. Under the protection of our Savior, there is nothing that cannot be overcome.
One thought on “Holy Obligation”
When we were first allowed back in our churches about a year ago, one of the priests at my parish urged us to encourage others to leave their homes and their screens and return to communal worship in the church building. He pointed out that where could we be safer than in the temple of our Lord and Savior? Certainly not in a supermarket or a restaurant! If we have the faith and trust in His protection, how can we be afraid?