“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:
‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.”
You may not know that the word “Mass” as the name for the celebration at the heart of Catholic faith comes from the Latin word missa – to be sent, as used at the end of Mass: Ite missa est.
For a few decades following the first English translation of the Mass (1969) the clarity and directness of the sending was (perhaps unintentionally) de-emphasised placing the “go” behind the instruction ie The Mass is ended, go in peace. The 2011 re-translation returned to emphasis on the GO as in “Go, the Mass is ended” (ie Ite = go) or in the other three options Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord, Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life and Go in peace.
There’s a real power, an energy, a force in that GO. It’s really more of a now-get-out-of-here command. Certainly an affirmation that for the past hour we have come to where we need to be, at the liturgy, but we are here at Mass each week so that we can live, thrive even, in every circumstance and encounter of the week ahead.
We come that we may go.
While some people might spend a good amount of time at prayer in church buildings the charge to Christians at the end of every liturgy is to go since our place of living, praying, socialising, working and playing between Sundays is not in the church but in the world.
This is an important point since most healthy active people are so fully engaged with family, work and other commitments that they simply don’t have the time to get to church more than once a week.
It’s significant that the ultimate work of the Second Vatican Council was the publication of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (6 December 1965). Note that the document is not about life in the sacristy or the sanctuary, around the church and parish buildings or even within parish boundaries.
The opening words of the constitution highlight the point:
“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts…The world which the council has in mind is the world of women and men, the entire human family seen in its total environment. It is the world as the theatre of human history.
I like that. The world as the theatre of human history, that is, the world as the place where God and people meet and live together.
So let’s go.
Take an initiative and send me a date time and place for a FFF cafe-catchups. firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll advertise these on each morning’s post throughout Advent.
FFF DECEMBER DIARY
TODAY Reflection day with Fr. John O’Connor
Saturday 9 December 10.00am – 3.00pm
St Patrick’s Church 31 Gerald Street, Lincoln (Canterbury) 7608
All Welcome , Just turn up. BYO lunch. (FFF – the book available, $40.00)
Sunday 10 December 12noon
St Anthony’s Seatoun.
66 Falkirk Ave.
Monday 11 December 10.00am (& every Monday)
Moko Cafe, (at this link)
Bush Inn Centre, Christchurch
Click the image below to order FFF – the book. If you already have the book please send a comment below. How are you finding it useful? Who do you think might appreciate it as a Christmas gift? Your comments will be helpful for others.