We all have heard that it is a sin to miss church. But is this true?
Can we sin in our hearts by forsaking the assembly of the saints? Or if we have no choice but to skip, is it still sin?
What if you are ill and not expected to recover for a couple of days? Then do you have an obligation to go to church or not?
What about compulsory obligations like work, a funeral, or even being held captive by your enemies?
It is not a sin not to go to church if you have any necessary on that day, like illness or any compulsory obligation.
It means you don’t have to go to church if you are sick or have other obligations like work or family matters. But if your reason for not going to church is that you want to sleep in, that is a sin.
If it’s the first time you didn’t know better, it is not a sin in some instances.
This article will show you what the Bible says about these things that may surprise you!
Is it a Sin Not to Go to Church on Sunday or every day?
It is not a sin to stay at home and not go to Church on Sunday if there is an illness or a necessary obligation that day.
People who do this are not committing a mortal sin, even though they miss the mass.
It is the teaching of the church.
The Catholic Church teaches that attending Mass on Sunday or the Holy Days of Obligation is “of faith,” which means that it is necessary to be a good Catholic.
But there are times when you may have an unavoidable reason for missing mass.
If you’re ill, homebound, or in jail (not as a punishment) and cannot attend mass because of your circumstances, you have permission not to attend as long as you are sorry for your absence.
If you are in danger of death and cannot get to church to receive the sacraments, such as if your car broke down on the way to mass, then you also do not need to worry about going to church.
There are times when you might want to go to church but cannot because it conflicts with something else in your life: You might have other obligations like work or school on a Sunday morning and no way around them.
Or perhaps you have a family obligation that does not allow you to leave the house that day.
It can make people feel guilty, thinking they are doing wrong by not going to church, but the truth is possible to excuse for only necessary reasons.
However, some people skip going to church every day, especially on Sunday, because they feel tired or have silly reasons.
That is a sin, and you are conscious about it.
When you sin, and you are conscious of it, you must ask God for forgiveness and make an act of contrition.
So if you know that missing mass is a sin, then say an act of contrition and make up for your sins as much as possible.
If you do this sincerely, then God will forgive you.
But remember, when you confess your sins, you should try never to do them again.
Read more: How to confess to God (It can help you to understand your sins and make a good confession)
Why do Catholics need to go to church?
Why can a Catholic not just spend the whole Sunday at home, reading the Bible and praying?
How does it make sense for Catholics to be in church for 3 hours on Sundays?
There are many reasons why Catholics go to church on Sundays.
In my perspective, the first reason is that this is God’s resting day.
God made that day to glorify him; when He created this world, He had a seven-day week with six days of work and one rest day.
That is for us to thank Him, and nowadays, it has become our obligation to go to church to join the eucharist to remember Christ’s suffering and death.
The second reason is that Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love him, we need to keep his commandments.
Going to church is one of the commandments that Jesus gave his disciples.
When Jesus sent out his disciples before he ascended into heaven, he told them to go to all the nations and make all of them be his disciples with the sacrament of baptism that we can find in Matthew 28:19.
In this passage, Jesus commanded them to go to all nations, which means going from door to door telling people about Jesus Christ and inviting them to join their church.
The third reason is as Catholics, we must attend church services regularly.
Going to church is a way of our worshiping God.
It is also a time for us to fellowship with other believers and get the Word of God.
Titus 2:13-14 says that we who gathered for Christ might redeem from all our iniquity to work on good for the others.
It means we must have the right attitude when attending church to be an acceptable person.
We must prepare ourselves to receive the Word of God during service so that it will touch our hearts and change us in some way.
It must be one of our priorities as Catholics because we are spiritually incomplete without it.
We need God’s Word daily through prayer, studying the Bible, attending church services, and reading Catholic books and articles.
What does Bible say about Going to Church?
Christians have been arguing over this question for centuries, so there is no easy answer.
The best way to answer the question is to look at what Jesus taught about attending church.
Remember, going to church was not a regular part of Jesus’ ministry during his time, but he spent most of the time there at the temple.
He occasionally visited synagogues but did most of His teaching in the temple and other places.
The only mention of Jesus attending a synagogue service came from Luke 4:16-30 and Luke 13:10-17 when He was in His hometown of Nazareth.
Church attendance was not a requirement for Christians in the New Testament era.
Paul’s letters show that he often met with believers privately and did not mention any weekly gatherings of Christians.
The most notable reference could find in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22, where Paul told followers to meet at someone’s house for communion and then “come together into one place.”
But even with these gatherings, it’s clear that they were voluntary events and not mandatory ones.
Going to church is essential in the Catholics perspective, and for this reason, the Bible tells us: “We should get together often to encourage and strengthen one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)
So, if you’re a Catholic, you don’t have to attend church every week to be saved, but your attendance at worship services is an essential part of your Catholic walk.
The Bible says: “Everyone has a gift from God; one person has might have this or that. So each of us should understand that all of them are the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some profit.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-8)
We all have different gifts and talents to use to serve God.
Some people are gifted writers and speakers; others are gifted in music, art, or organizing things.
Some people like to teach and are good at helping others learn about God; others prefer doing things behind the scenes, working with children, or taking care of orphans.
All of these things are excellent and valuable ways of serving God.
But, if you’re not attending church regularly or Sundays, it does not mean that you are not serving God in the way He wants you to.
But, you need to understand that Bible encourages us to gather in one place for Christ, so it should be the church.
For Catholics to grow spiritually, they need regular contact with other faithful followers. It helps them keep focused on their spiritual life. So you can try to do it every day.
The consequence of not Going to church as a Catholic
In the first place, you must be in good standing with the Catholic Church.
However, if you have not been to Sunday masses or received the sacraments in a long time, it may be considered a sin.
If you are a baptized Catholic and are aware of your obligations and that skipping mass will cause scandal among your fellow Catholics, then it may be sinful to miss Sunday mass.
If you know that your priest or bishop has forewarned you to attend mass every Sunday and you choose not to go anyway, then it would also be a sin.
The problem is that when you are invited by people of faith who sincerely want you to be present in the assembly of the saints, you should not say no.
You should try to find at least one hour per week to be present in the Eucharistic assembly, where there is always a source of the grace of God.
If you do not find an hour per week, your faith can become stale and weak.
Also, the Catholic community is one of the most significant sources of spiritual growth in our lives.
When you stay away from the church for long periods, you become isolated from other Catholics and lose touch with your Christian roots and customs.
Your faith may become weak and superficial because when you are alone, nobody around you can challenge or ask difficult questions about your faith.
It is easy for you to fall into the temptation of sin or simply an attitude that does not express authentic Catholic life.
I have often heard people say: “Oh, I do not go to church because I have nothing beautiful to wear.”
It’s okay because you are not going to church to show your beautiful dress or jewelry, but you must focus on praising God and sharing his love with others.
Otherwise, you might be tempted through different sins in your life, which may also break your good relationship with God.
This blog article gives you the answer to avoiding sin if you cannot go to church.
God understands our limitations and won’t get mad at us for not going to church if we have no choice in the matter.
Of course, having the choice (like a vacation with family) and not using it is a sin too, but that’s another story.
My idea is that if you have a genuine reason not to go to church (like sickness or work or obligation), then it’s not a sin.
But if you don’t have any real reasons to abstain and want to sleep in, that’s like sinning by sleeping in on Sunday.
Some people say the church is boring, but it is not.
All over the world, we can hear that church is a place where people come to worship God, but most do not realize that they are honoring one of the most potent forces in the universe.
So next Sunday, when you go to church, be happy, and for now, comment below. Does it help you understand which situation makes us sin about skipping mass on Sunday or other days?
God loves his children, and he has promised to be with them always, no matter where they are.