The Public Service Announcement
I know we are only starting the second week of Advent. But many of us are making plans for Christmas Eve and Day already. If it seems like time is flying by, it’s not your mind playing tricks on you — Christmas is coming early. Basically, the fourth “week” of Advent is only one day — Sunday, December 24. That means that both Sunday and Monday are Holy Days of Obligation.
uCatholic shared this article answering the question, “Can an evening Mass on the 24th fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation and the Christmas Day Mass obligation?” Short answer: NO. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said this in reply:
“The prevailing view of many canon lawyers is that each obligation must be fulfilled with a separate Mass. When consecutive obligations occur on Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday, the faithful must attend Mass twice to fulfill two separate obligations.”
I can hear the collective groans from my keyboard. I’m sure a lot of people are cranky about how they are going to juggle two Masses amongst their already-crowded Christmas plans. Or maybe, you’re covering your eyes and quickly closing this webpage while chanting, “Didn’t see that; not a sin if I didn’t know.” That leads to the question, why are we so averse to spending a little extra time with our Lord at Mass? Isn’t Jesus the reason for the season?
It’s been an unofficial theme of RosaryMeds this year — why aren’t people attending Mass? This has been a topic many parishes have been asking since the Covid lockdowns. Unfortunately, Covid exposed how weakly catechized many people are that they would so easily give up Mass. We’ve forgotten what it means to be Catholic and practice our faith.
For me, the dwindling participation in my parish hits me on a personal level. I see my parish and the Church as a whole as a team. But in the last few years, many of my teammates haven’t been giving 100%. Think about what happens to a sports team when people don’t practice, don’t show up, and don’t work hard. The team loses. And that is how I sometimes feel about Team Catholicism — we’re losing because the team doesn’t want to put in the effort anymore.
We have an Advent/Christmas doubleheader this year. Instead of bemoaning it or trying to avoid it, let’s remember all the spiritual benefits and graces that come from participating in Mass. Remember to remind your friends and family to center their Christmas around our faith. The gifts that God bestows on us will be greater than any flatscreen TV or new phone.
Go Team Catholicism!