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Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 13. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 13. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Just like a plant needs sun and nourishment to survive, every Christian needs the light of Sunday and the sustenance of the Eucharist to truly live, Pope Francis said.

"How can we carry out the Gospel without drawing the energy needed to do it, one Sunday after another, from the limitless source of the Eucharist," he said Dec. 13 during his weekly general audience.

"How can we carry out the Gospel without drawing the energy needed to do it, one Sunday after another, from the limitless source of the Eucharist?"

"We don't go to Mass to give something to God, but to receive from him that which we truly need," the pope said. Sunday Mass is the time and place Christians receive the grace and strength to remain faithful to his word, follow his commandment to love others and be credible witnesses in the world.

The pope continued his series of audience talks on the Mass in the Vatican's Paul VI hall, which was decorated with a large Christmas tree and a life-sized Nativity scene. A number of people in the audience hall handed the pope -- who turns 81 Dec. 17 -- Christmas cards, notes and a chocolate cake.

In his catechesis, the pope responded to the question of why it is so important to go to Mass on Sundays and why it is not enough just to live a moral life, loving others.

Sunday Mass is not simply an obligation, he said. "We Christians need to take part in Sunday Mass because only with the grace of Jesus, with his presence alive in us and among us, can we put into practice his commandment and, in this way, be his credible witnesses."

The Christian meaning of the day has been lost and is no longer "illuminated by the Eucharist."

"Just like a plant needs the sun and nourishment to live, every Christian needs the Sunday Eucharist to truly live," he said in summarized remarks to Arabic speakers.

"What kind of Sunday is it for a Christian if an encounter with the Lord is missing?" he asked in his main talk.

Unfortunately, in many secularized countries, the Christian meaning of the day has been lost and is no longer "illuminated by the Eucharist" or lived as a joyous feast in communion with other parishioners and in solidarity with others, he said.

Also often missing is the importance of Sunday as a day of rest, which is a sign of the dignity of living as children of God, not slaves, he said.

"Without Christ, we are condemned to be dominated by the fatigue of daily life with all its worries and the fear of tomorrow. The Sunday encounter with the Lord gives us the strength to live today with confidence and courage and to move forward with hope," he said.

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Jim Lein
6 years 6 months ago

Wouldn't it be better if there were no mortal sin Sunday Mass obligation? Wouldn't Mass mean more? Or would far fewer come to worship? Or do that many Catholics still worry about the mortal sin thing when it comes to missing Mass? Just asking.
Somehow it seems wrong, seems like God or Jesus has to force us to come to Mass with a legalistic, Caesar-like rule, rather than an simple, direct invitation.

Jay Zamberlin
6 years 6 months ago

While it may be true, as is the case with some other 'obigations,' that we might "get" more than we give by attending Mass, that is NOT why we go, and, it is just one more time when the Pope is parroting protestant pat phraseology, with maybe his own Argentine twist, i.e., 'we go to church to get a blessing.'

Au contraire, cher pape François....WE Catholics go to church on Sunday because we are commanded to do so, not only by Church disciplinary "law" but more primarily by way of the First and Third Commandments. We are to "give God His due." We also follow Jesus in so doing, as the Good Book tells us He worshiped in the Synagogue as "was His custom." St. Paul also admonishes us to not forsake 'the assembling of ourselves together. . .'

And, we go to GIVE, not to receive. Protestants DO go to get that blessing. We go to Give God worship. Does He need it, can't He do without it? Of course God doesn't NEED anything from us, but in so doing we understand and are reminded who we are and who God is, and that we are not the same, that He is above us, and His thoughts are above our thoughts, His ways above our ways. Just another reason why the "horizontal" worship style embraced by Catholics of the "New Age" is so skewed. It is mostly, if not entirely, man centered and man directed.

That said, most Christians would agree, I believe, that the requirement should not be borne as an ominous burden, and a certain practicality should be the rule when one is not able to attend.

Dr.Cajetan Coelho
6 years 6 months ago

The Holy Mass can be made the center of our Sunday and everyday life.

Oscar Löfroth
6 years 6 months ago

I want to go to mass every Sunday to meet God, but in my small parish here in southern Sweden we have a priest and fellow Christians who are more interested in scolding than preaching. The mass should be nourishment for the soul not an opportunity for the priest to stand and check if everybody is behaving correctly.

Oscar Löfroth
6 years 6 months ago

I want to go to mass every Sunday to meet God, but in my small parish here in southern Sweden we have a priest and fellow Christians who are more interested in scolding than preaching. The mass should be nourishment for the soul not an opportunity for the priest to stand and check if everybody is behaving correctly.

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