From a reader…
For Sundays and holy days, I always wear suit and tie (Sunday best!). One priest made a rule that all the guys at church had to wear a tie, so I followed.
Aside from dressing immodestly, does it matter what types of clothes we wear to weekday mass? Is Sunday best still recommended?
The Mass is the Mass is the Mass is the Mass. At each Holy Mass, Our Lord is presented and offered to the Father. Reason suggests, and faith confirms, and love prompts that we be on our best behavior at every offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Of course, some of you are already objecting,
“But Father! But Father! Isn’t it enough that I show up for Mass? God should be happy that I’m there at all, right? I mean, I’m busy! You are just trying to make people feel guilty and out of place if they don’t have special clothes on. I mean, Jesus accepts and welcome EVERYBODY, just as we are! Pope Francis says I can wear anything! You really do hate Vatican II, don’t you?”
If it’s a matter of having only a torn paper sack to wear and not attending Mass, by all means, wear the paper sack and come to worship the Lord. After all, in many parishes, the servers and sacred ministers look like they wear little better than that. And, folks, if you see someone wearing a torn paper sack, please give her a lift to the nearest St. Vincent de Paul store, at the least, and then help buy other cloths as well. Works of mercy and all.
DO NOT criticize or gossip about what others are wearing (there may be situations or circumstances that explain the torn jeans and dirty t-shirt). Worry about you wear! Of course if you are responsible for little people, do your duty.
That said, Mass is special. Wear special clothes.
Every Mass is special. But isn’t it the case that Sundays and Holy Days are, as it were, specialer? Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It should be distinguished and distinctive.
On Sundays and Holy Days, were are obliged not only to attend Holy Mass, but also to abstain from undue labor and to recreate ourselves appropriately in relaxation and prayer. It makes sense on these days to spend extra time on our appearance and wear our “Sunday best.”
Other days, when we do not have a strict obligation to attend Mass (but are mindful of how salubrious it is to do so when we have the opportunity), we have to consider other obligations. A workman who shows up to daily Mass before his shift begins in his work clothes still honors the Lord. A nurse who wears her uniform and sensible shoes after her shift prays effectively. A Vegas showgirl who … well… She should ditch the feathered headdress in the car and put a sweater on, at least.
Wearing casual clothes, especially to daily Mass, is not sinful, nor even necessarily slothful, as long as one’s appearance is clean, respectable, and modest. Keep the Sunday best clean for Sundays, but – unless it truly is all you have – leave the ripped jeans, short skirts, concert t-shirts, and flip-flops for the mall or pool side.