From the Pastor – February 7, 2021

National Mass times directoryJob spoke, saying: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me.  (Job 7:4)

Most of us know the story of Job.  He was faithful to God, but God let the devil take away all of Job’s possessions, kill all of his children and ruin his health.  And despite his misfortunes, Job does not curse God.  But that doesn’t stop him from bemoaning his situation.  The passage above reflects his poor attitude, but it speaks to a truth.  The world often imposes on us many miseries.  We get tired and frustrated with work.  We get in arguments with family members and friends.  We get sick, we can’t pay the bills, and we worry about the future of ourselves and our country.

So what’s the solution?  Recently I’ve been doing marriage preparation for a number of couples, and one of the things that I’ve been noticing is the number of couples who don’t go to Mass every Sunday, but only once or twice a month.  I wonder how many people don’t realize that missing Sunday Mass is a serious sin?  If it involves full knowledge and full consent, then it is a mortal sin.  Remember, all three conditions (grave offense, full knowledge, and full consent) have to be present for a sin to be a mortal sin. God says to “keep holy the Sabbath.”  And Jesus showed us how to worship when He gathered His apostles at Last Supper and instituting the Holy Eucharist. He commands us to “take this all of you and eat of it…do this in memory of me.”  As followers of Jesus, we are obligated to keep holy the Sabbath by attending Sunday Mass. It is a grave obligation.

But there’s something else going on here. Let’s look at it from Job’s point of view.  When Job was focusing on the things of the world – the things he’d lost – he was miserable.  But then God spoke to him, and told Job that he wasn’t seeing the whole picture.  Job didn’t understand that his suffering had a purpose.  And once Job acknowledged that he was shortsighted, he no longer bemoaned his condition.

Sunday Mass is the time of the week that we allow God to speak to us and help us understand our own condition.  In a sense, we “climb the mountaintop” and come into Holy Communion with God.  And when we’re up on that mountain contemplating the most important things like life, death, love and eternity, we should be able to look back down into “the valley” and get some perspective on our worldly problems.  They’re not going to disappear while we’re in Mass, but in the grand scheme of things, worldly troubles should pale in the face of God’s Divine Love.  Sunday Mass helps us more than we’ll know until we see God face to face.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty