Jesus is the Way (C1-Opening)

CHAPTER 1 – Why should we attend Mass?

Think of the early Christians and what they endured for their faith. Our ancestors did not, as followers of Christ, expect a leisurely life— persecution, and death followed them for decades, centuries. Their sacrifices resulted in billions following our Lord across the two millenniums since Jesus’ death on the cross. Those initial Christians understood Christ is unique, that He came to save the world, that He is the Son of God, and that Jesus is true Man and true God—they did not run from the Lord when their lives became dangerous.

Forward two millenniums, and we see a much different view of the Christian faith. While early Christians had to avoid horrifying persecutions and death, Catholics today cannot be troubled to go to Mass every week—they cannot find the time or desire to go to confession, or to pray, or to worship the Lord in many other ways. Many today forget the cauldron of pain and suffering the first Christians experienced to embrace the Lord.

We live in unique times. The Catholic Church and other churches are under spiritual attack, precious few people seem to notice or care. Western culture is built upon Judeo-Christian morals and ethics—those values form the foundation of who we have been throughout our history. We know what happens when foundations crumble.

Contemplate our history—beautiful churches and cathedrals; billions received baptized, Holy Matrimony, First Communion., Confirmation, forgiveness through confessing to a priest, receiving the anointing of the sick before death. The hungry, poor, and sick served by the Catholic Church. Many universities were founded by the Catholic Church. Many hospitals were established. Billions celebrating Christmas, the birth of our Lord. Billions celebrating Easter, the resurrection of our Lord. Billions healed through miracles and prayer. The Lord received in the Eucharist to untold billions. Likely, prayers on the trillions offered for people and souls. This is the shortlist of the many blessings the faith (through Christ) has brought into the world. It is who we are as Catholics, those are the things that tie us to history, to Jesus, to the Lord’s cross, to the early Christians, to the Bible, to our past, to our future, to Heaven, to the Saints, to the Angels; to our Lady Mary, to the Holy Spirit, to God the Father, and to everything that matters in this life and the next.

We are an enormous family!

Yet, for one (comparative) moment in time, those blessings and graces came to a sudden halt during the lockdowns of the 2020-21 COVID19 pandemic. The lockdowns created an enormous absence of grace, which allowed evil to enter the world at extraordinary levels, and for Satan to grasp many souls. It was a time fraught with spiritual danger.

These points do not imply Christianity has not had problems and has not committed acts contrary to our Lord’s Gospel. Our history is filled with periods of holiness and periods of sin, yet we are living in unique times, this era demands a unique response born of faith. We must turn back to our Lord in the fulness of the faith if we wish to banish the chaos under which we live. 

As with any family, and as with anything worth protecting, we must contemplate the loss of Christianity to the world. What would the world look like if Christianity disappeared (stop here, think about that for a moment)? We have tasted a time in which churches told us we could not go to church—that has never happened on a global level, ever—we do well to embrace the opportunities opened to us during these trying days.

Picture a world devoid of Christ, devoid of churches, devoid of all those things listed above, devoid of our spiritual family that we Christians have been connected to for more than 2,000 years. Picture a world with no grace to fill our souls, no forgiveness, no repentance, no salvation. These are some of the reasons to cling to our faith, to hold to our hope in Christ, to adhere to His Church during stormy times (as we live in today).

Jesus promised that He would not allow the gates of hades to prevail over His Church (read, Matthew 16:18),  which means in some form Christianity will continue, yet at what price, and at the cost of how many souls? [1]Saint Pope John Paul II (when he was Cardinal Wojtyla) once said:    

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church, in particular, must take up. It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but, in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights, and the rights of nations.”

Those are powerful and prophetic words. Christianity is journeying through a harsh test; therefore, we require serious people to help protect our faith. The days of people ignoring Jesus, and overlooking His Church, must come to an end, or we will lose everything we have received. We must not ignore the problems and the sins present in our lives and in the Church; instead, we should correct those issues while moving into the future.
 
The Church and faith cannot remain without people. Physical Catholic Churches are not free to build, operate, and maintain—the 2020-21pandemic has created enormous stress on churches and parishes. Many parishes will disappear, including associated Catholic schools. This is an inevitable consequence of closing parishes for weeks and months. We believers must help if we want those beautiful houses of worship to survive and flourish. If we desire to hand down the blessings of the faith to future generations, we must act now. This is not a time for spiritual lukewarmness.

Jesus Christ is unique, for He is both God and Savior. Every human is on a path to eternity; therefore, the faith the Lord has given the world is worth protecting, for salvation comes only through Jesus:

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  [ACTS 4:12; RSV-CE, italics added]

Please, return to Mass, make it part of your life.
Please, pray for the Catholic Church and all churches.
Please, step away from the sin(s) that prevent you from stepping back into the Catholic faith.
Please, support your parish and church.

If we do not take these steps, if we do not protect that which we have received, it will be lost!  

Have you ever wondered why the Roman Catholic Church holds the Mass as an essential part of our lives? Do you find it a waste of time to attend? In this piece, we offer several important reasons to go to Mass every Sunday (and on Holy Days of Obligation). We include fictional accounts to highlight real-world examples of individuals who struggle with this topic. Please keep in mind this chapter is intended to help Catholics who see no value in attending Mass, though those in other denominations may gain benefit from this work.

As we journey through this topic, recall that attendance at Sunday Mass is not for God’s benefit; instead, the Lord gave us the Mass for our spiritual enrichment. As the Sabbath was given by God for the benefit of the Jews, the Mass is given by God (Jesus) for our benefit.

In future posts, we will examine some of the reasons to attend Mass.


[1] http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/john-paul-iis-warning-on-final-confrontation-with-the-anti-church

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