Thursday, November 5, 2009


Actually, no He wouldn’t and neither would we since it would be the Second Coming. But a more important question is did Jesus attend services when He did live here on earth. The answer is yes. He studied the Scriptures (Old Testament obviously) went to synagogue, observed the high holy days, and some suggest that the tassel that the lady plagued with hemorrhages touched and was subsequently cured was part of the religious dress of the Jewish people.

Now think about that. It is true that Jesus is 100% human, but He is also 100% God, the second member of the Holy Trinity. If anybody did NOT need to go to religious services it was Him. But He went just the same. In this way He set the example for us (and we would not have the excuse, “Well, Jesus didn’t go to services.”)

This came to mind yesterday as I was tooling about on my day away and there was a Protestant radio program on what to say to adult children who no longer go to (established Protestant) services on Sunday. There was the example of a young family who decided to no longer attend their church. As far as not attending an “official church” they said that they did not like the music and that the sermon was barely adequate with only a smattering of Scriptural references. As an alternative they now get together with other families in each other’s homes. They have a service that they worked out based deeply in Scripture, there is a faith sharing (I suppose this is like a sermon) and use commentaries and like resources to scour the depths of Scripture.

There were some attempts at trying to bring some arguments to the table as to why they should be attending an established church but they were weak. The best was that one does not attend Church for one’s self but for God and the benefit of the community. That is good. But in the end one of the panelists said, “I guess you have an apostolic Church. Good for you.” I suppose if you believe in Sola Scriptura, if your building has no Sacramental presence of Jesus, there is no sacrifice and so no priesthood, if there is no divine authority given to a church structure, and you are forming a community of believers I would be hard pressed to say otherwise.

Unless we are speaking about the Catholic understanding of Church. Church, the way we believe in it requires a set community, interconnectedness, unity, sacrifice, authority, Tradition, fixed theology, a priesthood, and a sacrifice. These are impossible to establish on one’s own by starting a church in your dining room. It is not about enjoyment – your type of music or your style of worship though we should strive to do what we do well and relevantly. It is not about the personality of the priest though it does help. It is not about getting anything “out of” of the service – you come to serve. And in turn you do “get something” – Christ speaking to you in His own words of the Gospel and receiving Him Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity as the Eucharist.

We go to Mass weekly because this is the example set by Jesus Christ. We gather in the Catholic Church because we believe He gave His authority to the Church in matters of faith and morals. We gather at a Mass rather than a service because we believe that He gave us a sacrifice and a sacrificial system through the priesthood to be celebrated. And we do it as the universal Church because Christ’s mission was and is about unity. That is our role as sons and daughters of our Father. We come first in love and then in duty in season and out, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health all the days of our lives until we are one with Him in glory.


Anonymous said...

Father, this teaching is a wonderful apologetic. Very helpful. Thanks!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

We go to Mass to partake in The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

If Jesus attended Mass on Sunday (which He does) what does He make of our modern-day Catholics?

Now there's a thought!

Warren said...

"These are impossible to establish on one’s own by starting a church in your dining room. "

Exactly. It is interesting to note the deep interest of these home-church people in the old testament and the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. I encountered one of these home-church types, who is so into the home-church-evangelical scene that he's anti every single established denomination, and he was talking about how he doesn't celebrate Christmas, because "Christmas was established by the Catholic church". And I thought, yeah, well, Christ+mass = Christmas. But then, Christianity was established by the Catholic church, so what's your point, brother?

The idea that Catholics hold, that Jesus himself established the Catholic church, and charged the Apostles with leading it, with Peter as the highest authority on earth, is roundly rejected by protestants (and partially, I guess, by the Orthodox) and yet, I have never heard any protestant or orthodox scholar/apologist venture a plausible alternative meaning of that scripture. Why is it there in the bible? Is it an accident made by a scribe, that it is there, or did the Holy Spirit want those versus about binding and loosing on heaven and on earth in there for a reason? It sounded rather formal for something that is really a theological throwaway verse, to protestants and the eastern orthodox.


Anonymous said...

I imagine He thinks He has something to work with, Victor. Church on Sunday mornin' isn't the greatest fun the day might hold. What I'm seeing more and more are little kids going up to receive Him with their hands "steepled" in front of them. I personally recall that means very little angelism overall..but it's a good sign -- and so is getting up and everyone getting ready and then simply showing up to Mass.. It's a quiet loyalty, no matter what else it may be. Above all, He's got something to work with, there.

Anonymous said...

This was just fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Surely, if Jesus was on earth today, since he was an orthodox Jew, he would pray in a Synagogue.

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