Are you telling me that God will send me to hell if I decided to watch football on Sunday instead of attending Mass? This is a not question that would be asked by Catholics if they understood that:
  • Dying in a state of mortal sin will condemn a person to eternal separation from God.
  • Willfully missing Mass on Sunday without grave reason is a Mortal Sin.
Let's examine three things here:
  • Why mortal sin condemns us to hell
  • Where the church gets the authority to determine what is a serious and
  • Why the Church teaches that failure to attend Mass on Sunday is a serious sin
Why mortal sin condemns us to hell.
Mortal, or deadly, sin is our deliberate choice to sever our relationship with God. God offers us his love, but does not force us to accept it. When we die in this state our decision becomes irrevocable. We cannot change our minds after death. Archbishop Fulton Sheen has pointed out that the soul of someone who dies in the state of mortal sin would rather endure the pain of hell than to stand in the presence of an infinitely good God, Whom he has rejected. As he says, "The doors of hell are locked from the inside."

Where the Church gets the authority to determine what is a serious sin.
We human beings are very adept at justifying our actions to ourselves. Jesus, as God, understood this weakness of ours, and in order to protect us from ourselves, gave us the Church and, with it, shepherds to guide us safely to heaven. These shepherds were given authority to speak for Christ. In Luke 10:16, Jesus says to the apostles, whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. If we reject any of the teachings of the Church, we reject Jesus!

Why the Church teaches that failure to attend Mass on Sunday is a serious sin.
Three reasons:
  • We, as human beings, need to give honor and glory to God at Mass -- in the way he desires; not in the way we feel like it…And it's not because he needs it; but for our own benefit!
  • We must wage a battle against sin everyday. It has been said that "an army travels on its stomach." We must have spiritual nourishment if we are to have the strength to prevail. We need to let the Lord fortify us in the Eucharist.
  • Finally, the church is a body. How strong is the family when half its members don't show up for meals week after week? When we fail to show, it weakens the Body of Christ. Are we to be counted as deserters in the spiritual war; letting down the other members of our body? Is that not what the enemy (Satan) wants us to do?
Don't reject God! Don't let down your brothers in the Church! Come to Mass every Sunday! We are counting on you! For the Mass schedule, see your local parish Bulletin or visit Masstimes.org for Mass schedules for churches across the U.S.