It’s tempting to skip Sunday Mass while relaxing on the beach, but summer vacation doesn’t exempt us from going to church.
When traveling away from home to enjoy a relaxing time of vacation, it can be tempting to “forget” to attend Mass on Sunday.
We may want to sleep in on Sunday, or there might not be a convenient Mass time and we don’t want to interrupt our activities.
Whatever excuse we may come up with, vacation seems much simpler if we skip the Sunday obligation.
However, God doesn’t see it this way.
The current Code of Canon Law confirms the Sunday obligation and states, “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.”
This means that any Catholic who is able to attend Mass must make every reasonable effort to be there.
At times there may be exceptional circumstances that could dispense a person from attending Mass. For example, if the town you’re traveling to doesn’t have a Catholic parish, it would be unreasonable to expect you to find a Mass. But opting to skip an available Mass in favor of enjoying time on the beach is not a legitimate reason to miss Sunday Mass.
Time for God
The reason why the Church is so insistent on this issue is that we need to make time for God on Sundays, worshiping in the way that he designed.
St. John Paul II urged all Catholics to renew their dedication to the Sunday Eucharist in his apostolic letter, Dies Domini.
It is crucially important that all the faithful should be convinced that they cannot live their faith or share fully in the life of the Christian community unless they take part regularly in the Sunday Eucharistic assembly. The Eucharist is the full realization of the worship which humanity owes to God, and it cannot be compared to any other religious experience. A particularly efficacious expression of this is the Sunday gathering of the entire community, obedient to the voice of the Risen Lord who calls the faithful together to give them the light of his word and the nourishment of his Body as the perennial sacramental wellspring of redemption. The grace flowing from this wellspring renews mankind, life and history.
While it may be easier to skip Mass on Sunday when traveling, we would be sacrificing the wellspring of grace that God wants to give to us in every Sunday Eucharist.
Above all, don’t see the obligation to Sunday Mass as an imposition, but as an invitation to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.