Will it really affect my relationship with God if I miss Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation?
October 18, 2020, 12:00 PM
For a Catholic to skip Mass deliberately on a holy day of obligation (i.e., you could have gone but chose not to) is a grave sin (CCC 2181). In the case of Sunday Mass, it is also a breaking of the third commandment to “Keep holy the Sabbath” (Ex 20:8). When we commit a grave or serious sin with full knowledge and full freedom we are in mortal sin and no longer are in the “state of grace.”

What does all this mean? Well, in baptism, we are admitted into an intimate relationship with God, receiving His very inner life, His grace. When we deliberately commit grave sin, we rupture this relationship with God – choosing our will over His divine will. Some sins are small and weaken rather than break off the relationship. We call these “venial” sins. Others are very serious. We call these “mortal” (which means “deadly”; see 1 Jn 5:16-17) sins. Ignoring a clear commandment of God – for instance, by intentionally missing Mass – would be considered a mortal sin, if done with sufficient freedom and knowledge. If someone knows about this commandment, understands its importance, and then simply ignores it, can that person really say he or she loves God? After all, love is proven through our actions more than our words. (it is important to note that there are times when someone cannot get to Mass. For example, if you are sick, do not have a ride, or your job demands that you work from Saturday evening through Sunday evening, such as a doctor or nurse on call. It is obviously not a sin to miss Mass under such circumstances, since a deliberate act of the will is necessary for any act to be sinful.)

All sins aside, when you miss Mass you miss out on the richest encounter you can have with God on earth. You miss the grace that comes with the Eucharist and from hearing the Word of God preached. You also miss the benefits of fellowship with the wider community of Catholic believers.