Good Reasons for Missing Mass

Attending and participating at Mass every Sunday (or Saturday evening) and holy day of obligation is one of the precepts of the Church. This flows from the Third Commandment: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” Yet there can be good and holy reasons for missing Mass.

Are you ill? If you are nauseous, for example, definitely do not come to church. Are the weather or road conditions dangerous for you? Then stay safe indoors. Do you have to care for another person, perhaps someone newborn or elderly? Then you can be away for them. For good reasons like these, one may watch the Mass on TV or online or prayerful meditate on the Scriptures at home to spiritually commune with the Lord.

Jesus once asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” So he prefers that you not get accidentally killed or injured or spread diseases by coming to Mass. On another occasion, Jesus asked, “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” Thus, the necessity to care for others supersedes the normal rules.

On the other hand, willfully, deliberately skipping Mass (such as on a family vacation or for hunting season) is a serious sin. With the internet and cellphones and so many Mass times available, anyone can plan ahead to find and celebrate our Lord’s Sacrifice. I tell children in Confession who are not taken to Mass that “what’s not your choice is not your sin,” but I encourage them to ask their parents to bring them to church, since this is what Jesus desires for everyone as far as they are able.

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