Why do we have to go to Church on Sunday? Why not keep the Lord’s Day holy at home?
Most families the world over come together (usually for a meal) to celebrate important anniversaries e.g. birthdays, wedding anniversaries and sometimes even death anniversaries (cf. Unveiling of the Cross ceremonies).
These tend to be annual anniversaries.
Some couples – esp those that are young and still dating – tend to celebrate even their monthly “anniversary” (usually of when they started going out together).
The Church is also a family – God’s family. He is the father (so Jesus taught us to call him, “Abba”, “Dad”), Jesus is the first born son (so St. Paul calls him), Mary is the mother (if she is the mother of Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, then she must also be the mother of the rest of Christ’s Mystical body – us), and we are the rest of the brothers and sisters.
This supernatural family also comes together (usually for a meal – “The Lord’s Supper” aka “The Mass”) to celebrate important family anniversaries e.g. birthdays of the kids (Jesus’ on Christmas, ours on the day we’re born into heaven – this is why saints have a day we celebrate them. It is the day they die on earth and consequently born/birthed into heaven).
However, there is one anniversary in this supernatural family that is supremely important, more important even than the dating couple’s monthly anniversary. It is so important the Church celebrates it every week, because without it we wouldn’t be a family at all. Easter. Without Christ rising from the dead, he could not ascend into heaven (today’s feast btw), and without ascending he could not send the Holy Spirit to us. And without the Holy Spirit, God the Father could not adopt us as his children. There would be no Mystical Body (that Saul persecuted and Christ complained about). There would be no supernatural family.
Every Sunday is thus an “anniversary” celebration of Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, the Lord’s Day.
God says keep holy the Lord’s Day. How? How do we keep family anniversaries? By celebrating them with the rest of the family – by going to Church.
Who or what is a saint? I know what it means to be a saint… but how do I explain to a lay person?
Friends who hang out together always rub off on each other; they begin to share mannerisms in speech, expression, behaviour, interests, concerns etc. So too with Christ: the more we hang out with him, the more his habits, mannerisms, speech, expression, behaviour, interests, concerns etc. rub off on us.
In this regard a saint is another Christ. Someone who, because he hangs out with Christ so much, comes to share in His habits and mannerisms so much that other people basically can’t tell the difference between him and Christ. Whatever you do is done exactly how Christ would do/say it. Be it studying, cooking, playing sports, having a drink with buddies, blasting an idiot who needs to be corrected, consoling someone who needs help, setting standards for a joker in class or in the office, eating and dancing, enjoying entertainment, driving, etc. How Christ would do each of these is exactly how you do it.
St. Paul would say he did this to such an extent that he could honestly say it was no longer he who lived, but Christ who lived in him.
This incidentally is what the Catholic Church looks for in the life of one of her children before she can declare them a Blessed or a Saint. Did this person live the virtues that Christ lived (cheerfulness, purity, obedience, punctuality, manliness, generosity, elegance, order, diligence, etc) to a heroic degree such that we can officially put them up as a public example for the rest of the Christians to follow if they want to become like Christ? Did they project the image Christ wherever they were, whatever they did, however old they were, whomever they lived or worked with, etc? Did they? Do I? Do you?