Why the End of Mass is More of a Beginning

After the reception of Holy Communion by the faithful, the Mass concludes with a dismissal. The dismissal, however, is not simply a "good-bye, see you next week" type of dismissal, but a "sending forth" into the world, urging the faithful to be beacons of light every day of the week.

The Catechism explains that the Mass itself is called, "Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives."

The four options that the priest can say help highlight this aspect of the Mass:
  • Go forth, the Mass is ended.
  • Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
  • Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.
  • Go in peace.
The emphasis for all of them is go, and two make the mission very clear saying, "and announce the Gospel of the Lord" or "glorifying the Lord by your life."

Think of it this way. The Mass is like a "gas station" for your soul. You typically take your car to a gas station to be filled up for the purpose of going further along towards your final destination. We don't remain at the gas station forever or keep our car in the garage until the end of time. We go.

So too in the spiritual life. We need to be filled up spiritually to help us along the pathway to eternal life. We must not remain in the church building forever, but continue on our journey in the world and need the added grace we receive to help us combat the many forces that try to prevent us from moving forward in the spiritual life.

Being Catholic is not meant to be reserved for Sundays, but every day of the week. We are supposed to go out into the world and transform it by our lives. We may not be called each day to preach the Word of God with our lips, but we are obligated to preach it with our deeds.

So while the priest may dismiss us from Mass, our Catholic faith does not end when we leave the building. 

It is really a beginning.

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