22 December 2010

A timely and necessary reminder

As we quickly approach the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord, we know that on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day many Catholics will return to the Holy Mass for the first time in a long time.

As a pastor and father of souls, I have a duty to remind those who do not faithfully practice their faith to refrain from receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord without first making a sacramental confession of sins.

I know that few, if any, Catholics who find themselves in this situtation will read this post, so I must rely on you, their family, friends and neighbors to remind them of this important truth.

This is not a matter of being rude or of being bad hosts and unwelcoming to our guests, as some suggest. It is, rather, a show of our concern for the good of their souls and their eternal salvation; it is a matter of authentic love.

Saint Paul very clearly warned the Corinthians:
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood and of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself (I Corinthians 11:27-29).
His words fall to us, as well.

Those who find themselves not in the state of grace because they have not worshipped the Lord in the Holy Mass on every Sunday and holy day of obligation are, of course, welcomed to the Holy Mass. Indeed, they have a duty and an obligation to attend Mass. But they must not eat and drink condemnation upon themselves. And we should not encourage them to do so.

Please, I beg you: urge your family and friends to return to the practice of their faith and to make a good confession, that they might be reconciled to the Lord and celebrate his birth with great joy and peace of heart. Sometimes all someone needs is a word or encouragement or a gentle reproach. This could be the best gift you could give them.

Along these same lines, Father Zuhlsdorf offers his own reminder about this most important matter.


  1. Fr.

    Will you mention this in your Christmas homilies?

  2. I'm not certain yet.

    Apparently in one of my parishes I've upset a few people with my recent reminders about not chewing gum in Mass and keeping the eucharistic fast, not carrying on loud conversations in church and something else that escapes me at the moment.

    If memory serves, I think I made a similar announcement to this post at Easter (or it might have been last Christmas).

    I'm tempted to put a little program together with an inclusion of this reminder.

  3. Christi4:45 PM

    Fr. Daren,
    The same thing happened at our parish when our pastor first arrived. Some families will leave. Just keep in mind, some disciples left Jesus, also, over his teachings.

    But after 6 years of perpetual adoration and prayerful attitude before and after Mass at our church, I am spoiled and dread attending Masses at other parishes where little thought is given to Jesus' real presence.