Why do so many people make their best efforts to avoid going to
And why do we (including the Church!) use terms like "obligation"
when referring to the honor and privilege and celebration of Mass, as if
it is this terrible, awful burden that we must endure?
But the fact is,regardless of whatever terms the Church uses, you are not "obligated" to do anything with respect to God. Do whatever the hell you
feel like doing. You don't "have" to go to Mass both Sunday and Monday. Sit at home watching TV and drinking beer and eggnog if you want. Nobody is forcing you to do anything.
Now, of course, if you don't want to spend an hour or two with Jesus, if you don't want to receive Jesus' gift of His Body on the day of giving, you just may end up
finding out that, in the end, He won't oblige you to spend eternity with Him
If you love someone, of course you want to spend time with him or her, and you don't consider it an "obligation."
Exactly! As Catholics we can get so tied up over the rules that we develop a check-list mentality to our faith. We try to meet the minimum requirements to keep ourselves out of Hell. I heard a priest address this at one of the school Masses a couple of years ago and his analogy really resonated with me. Who sets out to be a "C" student? No one. We hope to be an "A" student, though sometimes, in spite of our best efforts we fall short. So why are we satisfied with being a "C" Catholic? Are we trying to just squeak by and get into Heaven by the skin of our teeth? Or are we trying to make the God's honor roll? This isn't meant to be a discussion of salvation by works vs grace. Rather this is a push for us to remember that just as we want to excel in our earthly endeavors we should want to excel in our spiritual endeavors as well. So get rid of the word obligation when thinking about your acts of faith. Consider New Years weekend as an opportunity for twice the grace!