Is still the first week of the first month of the New Year...so, a blessed 2018 to all!
I invite you to consider another first: the first day of every Week, Sunday, the Lord’s Day.
It’s not too late by any means to add one more New Year’s resolution, which may be the most important one: Keep holy the Lord’s Day!
That’s hardly just a nice idea and suggestion from me; it happens to be the third of the Ten Commandments!
For us as Catholics, the most effective way we keep holy the Lord’s Day is by Sunday Mass!
Most of you reading this are already faithful to Sunday Mass, so I hardly need to nag you about getting back to Church every Sunday. But, you might want to hand this on to the crowds of Catholics for whom Sunday has become just another day.
You realize that a big chunk of our Catholic family no longer considers Sunday Mass an essential part of our friendship with Jesus and of our Catholic identity.
I deal with “problems” in the Church daily, and you know them as well as I do: not enough priests and sisters; break-ups in marriages and families; a “throw-away culture,” to quote Pope Francis, that treats human life cheaply; money shortages threatening our beloved Catholic parishes and schools; ignorance of our faith; a secular culture that ridicules and sidelines religion; people leaving the Church...
On and on I could go, but I have a New Year’s resolution to be more positive! So, let me propose that all these problems can be healed and helped if people will make Sunday Mass the center of their week.
This is not just a hunch on my part: the research shows that when folks are faithful to Sunday Mass, their lives are more in order, marriages and families are more stable and happy, vocations rise, stewardship and generosity go up, people’s knowledge of and allegiance to the faith is enhanced, and God’s flock is energized to bring His message and invitation to a hurting world...well, maybe this sounds too good to be true, but it works!
Pope Francis agrees. Just before Christmas, he asked, “How can we really practice the Gospel without going to draw, Sunday after Sunday, from the wellspring of the Eucharist?”
Jesus teaches us, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all else will be given you!” Seek first His Kingdom that first day of the week by Sunday Mass ...and let Him keep His promise!
We try money, exercise, weight loss, yoga, counseling, new friends...or nasty stuff like alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, immorality, and selfish pursuits, all to be happy. We know better. They don’t work.
Put God first the first day of each week at Sunday Mass...this time next year, you won’t regret it!
Of all the statistics that chill me about Catholic life, the one that bothers me most is that only about 22 percent of our 2.8 million Catholic people in this great archdiocese are faithful to Sunday Mass.
We raise that attendance, my friends...and the miracles, the meaning, the mystery, the message are all unleashed!
As Pope Francis said last month, “As every plant needs the sun and nourishment to live, every Christian needs the Sunday Eucharist to live.”
Give it a try!
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day!
First things first!
Get back to Sunday Mass!
A blessed New Year!