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1/168th: Another Way of Looking at Sunday Mass

May 11th, 2013by Fr. Dave Endres

When we think of our duty to worship God on Sundays, we probably consider the time we are “giving” to Him. Sunday Mass takes on average about an hour – some places less, some places more – or approximately 1/168th of our week.

Even so, this minimum requirement of the Church to worship God each Sunday is not so minimal to some (we know that less than 25% of baptized Catholics in the U.S. attend Mass every week). And while it is true that many make sacrifices to attend Mass in the midst of the busyness of life, I suspect that more would go to Mass to fulfill their obligation if they thought of that hour as something that was already His.

I was struck by the words of Fr. Leo Trese in his book, The Faith Explained:

All of our times belongs to God – as we ourselves belong to God. But God and his Church are very generous with us. They give us for our own use six days out of every seven – a total of 144 hours in which to work and recreate and sleep.

 And even on Sundays, the Church asks minimally for only one hour to be set aside for worship, obliging us “to reserve for God’s very own only one hour out of the weekly 168 hours which He has given us.”

Do we view Sunday Mass as “giving” God an hour each week? Or, do we recognize that all time is a gift from Him? – and our Creator and Redeemer in justice deserves our singular attention at least one of the 168 hours he gives us each week of our lives.

Fr. Dave Endres

Fr. David J. Endres is assistant professor of church history and historical theology at Mount St. Marys Seminary/Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati.