There is something very special about being back at Mass again. It’s more than just seeing our parish family or able to receive communion. Because, each and every Mass we attend renews our Great Commissioning by Jesus to go out and spread his Good News to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:16-20).
As disciples of Christ, we have a mission. We are reminded of that mission at the end of every Mass. It comes from the words of dismissal which are said right after the final blessing. In Latin, these words are Ite missa est for “Go, it is sent!” In other words – “Go, you are sent forth!” The response on the part of the assembly is “Thanks be to God!” or, in Latin, “Deo, gratias!” The word for “Mass” is a reminder of our mission as it comes from the Latin word “Missa” which means to be shot forth. Missa is the same root word for “missile.” Missa carries a responsibility, a mission, with it. It is our mission to be soul seeking missiles to a world desperately in need of God’s truth. Incidentally, that’s why we don’t leave Mass early. When we do, we miss the final blessing and deny ourselves the graces associated with it to go out and evangelize. As we sing the closing song and walk out of the church, we become bearers of Christ’s peace to serve God in the world.
There are four options in the Roman Missal (the big, red book that Father prays from) to be used in for the dismissal. These options are “Go forth, the Mass is ended”, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”, and “Go in peace.” When I am the deacon at Mass, the Roman Missal says it’s my job to both proclaim the Gospel and do the dismissal. I like to use “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!” Why? Because when I was ordained 9 years ago, I knelt before the bishop in front of God, my family and friends, and about 2000 people while the bishop handed me the Book of the Gospels. That’s the red book I carry in during the procession. As Bishop Boyea handed me the book, he said “John, receive the Book of the Gospels, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.” Because of that moment, and proclaiming the Gospel to you, I feel compelled to remind us at the end of each Mass that we have a job to do. And that job is to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Essentially, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!”
Jesus gave us all a mission, and we are reminded of it at the end of every Mass. That mission is to continue the work of God for the redemption of the world.