May 26, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

On May 30 we will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. As with other Holy Days of obligation, there are questions that always arise. Do I have to go? What’s the point? What’s the thing about Mondays and Saturdays?

Except for a few Solemnities, like All Saints, Christmas, and The Immaculate Conception, those that occur on a Monday or Saturday have had their obligation to go to Mass lifted. This lifting of the obligation arose for those who cannot get to Church easily. In some dioceses the celebration of the Solemnity is transferred to the closest Sunday.

But why an obligation? Why does the church force me to go? Think about the relationship between husband and wife. A husband is obligated to forsake all women for his wife. That obligation is there because of love. The husband fulfills that obligation because he wants to, and it doesn’t even feel like an obligation.

It should be the same for us and God! I fulfill my obligation with God not because it’s something to drag myself through, but because I love him! The Holy Days are there to remind us of God’s Love for us. They are a focus to share, like an Anniversary. As humans we need reminded of special events, so that we can relish the importance of what is going on, lest we forget.

So…if we grumble about having to go to church for a holy day, what are we really saying about our relationship with God? Spouses do not really think about making sacrifices for their spouse. That is part of Marriage. Offering yourself to God on special days should hold the same importance; it is something that we do because of Love.

Six Holy Days of Obligation are celebrated in the United States.
• January 1—Mary, Mother of God
• Fortieth day after Easter—Ascension
• August 15—Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
• November 1—All Saints
• December 8—Immaculate Conception
• December 25—Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

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