Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stop Saying "Holy Day of Opportunity"

Well, it's Tuesday, so I guess I better rant about something that bothers me.

Today, on the lovely and beautiful Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I would like to complain about the well-meaning folks who say "Holy Day of Opportunity."

Brace yourselves...

Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays and all Holy Days of Obligation.

I know, it's hard to hear, but it's true.

Of course, as flawed human beings, we struggle with the idea of being under an authority, and being told that we are obligated to do anything doesn't generally sit well with us.

Especially if that something is having to attend Mass on a Tuesday! God forbid!

How dare a bunch of Bishops try and tell me what to do?!

With that disdain for authority in mind, many well-meaning Catholics have jumped on the bandwagon of calling Holy Days of Obligation, Holy Days of Opportunity.

It's cute, right?

Well, in reality, it does a great job of pointing to the fact that each and every time we attend Mass, we are given an opportunity to draw closer to the Lord, to give our yes to him yet again, to ask for his pardon for our trespasses.

And yet, it side steps a very important truth in order to make us feel all cute and comfortable.

We are bound to an authority. That authority comes from Jesus, and was given to His Church.

When we feel uncomfortable being under the authority of the Church, we have to realize that we are actually feeling uncomfortable being under His authority.

And, if we truly want to follow him and give him our all, wouldn't we want to make ourselves subject to his authority?

So, Holy Day of Obligation must be the flag that we continue to fly.

Sure, it may make some people say, "Oh, those silly Catholics and their obligations...no wonder they have so much guilt."

But, it reminds us that we are in fact obligated, and that being obligated isn't a bad thing. 

It is actually through that very obligation that we have the complete and total freedom that we actually desire.

1 comment:

  1. One of my personal peeves: confessing that I've failed to meet my Sunday Obligation (or another Holyday which is hard in Canada as we only have 2)and to have the priest respond "It should not feel like an obligation, but you should want to attend Mass..."

    UGH! It is an obligation! I might NOT want to go, but not wanting to attend Mass does not mitigate the obligation to actually do so.