From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…For April 22, 2018

Last week we had a below average attendance at Mass. It is understandable with all the ice. Some of you might not have been able to get out of your driveways. Those of you with a few decades under your belt might not have been safe either walking or driving. There are undoubtedly good reasons for the light turn-out, and none of what I will write is directed at anyone in particular. However, it is useful to pause and consider the effort we make to get to Mass.

The Third Commandment that God gave to the People of Israel, and to us, is to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Because Christ rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week, the first day of the new creation, we have come to regard Sunday as the Lord’s Day. The Church has further defined this with the precept that we must participate at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. This is no small matter.

There is a principle in moral theology that God does not command the impossible. If something is truly impossible, then the obligation is no longer in effect. For astronauts who are in space for a couple months, it is obviously impossible for them to participate in Mass. A little closer to home, being sick in bed, not being able to move very far from the bathroom, that is also reasonably impossible.

In addition to the impossible, it is reasonably prudent when there is a serious danger to yourself or others that it would not be appropriate to attempt to attend Mass. Again, for those of you who may not have the quickest reaction times, it might be wise to avoid the roads in truly bad weather. There are parents who have responsibility for little people, and they have to be taken into consideration.

There is no simple rule in these complex situations, but it warrants our consideration how we weight the  impossible and the imprudent, versus what situations is difficult, even very difficult. We are rather spoiled in this country and in this diocese. You would be hard pressed in this diocese to find anyone who is more than half an hour from the nearest church. There are Masses Saturday evening, throughout Sunday morning, and even Masses Sunday evening. Even when we are traveling, there are great websites like masstimes.org that can locate churches and Mass times for us.

Again, none of this is directed at anyone in particular, but we do need to consider how much effort we are making to engage in what God and His Church have given as a high priority in our lives.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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