Here in New York we are privileged to be one of the last places on earth where the Ascension is celebrated on the actual fortieth day of Easter instead of being transferred to the Sunday following. So at the end of Mass yesterday I was announcing the schedule for this "Holy Day of Opportunity," as my first priest liked to say.
As it always does, this led someone to take up the old debate with me. Weekday holy days should be done away with, transferred to Sundays, or at least have their obligations relaxed so that they don't bind under penalty of sin. In our world it is too much to ask of someone to assist at Mass on a weekday when we have so many other things that have to be done and places to go. It is an unfair an onerous obligation; it's too hard for people.
My answer to this old complaint is always the same, and, to my mind, devastating:
"It doesn't seem to be a problem for people on Ash Wednesday."
It's a weekday. Nobody has the day off. It's not a holy day of obligation. And yet, it's one of the best attended days in the whole church year. Often its only rival for attendance is Christmas. Therefore, the question of assisting at Mass on the occasional weekday is a question not of hardship, but of motivation.