If you’re still tempted to respond “And also with you!” you’re not alone. We’re approaching six months since the third edition of the Roman Missal was introduced in the United States, and most Mass-goers seem to be getting the hang of it. But as the responses become more of a habit, there is a danger that we begin to overlook the significance of what we are saying.
I’ll proudly admit it: I love the new translation of the Mass! It is so beautiful to praise God with such eloquence and majesty. But my favorite part is the end of Mass. Not because “yay, Mass is over,” but because we are commissioned and sent forth to do God’s work in the world.
In the new translation, the priest or deacon has four options for the dismissal. Note that each begins with “Go!” We are being sent out. The new ones are particularly poignant: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life” and “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” Amen! I am reminded of the words often attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words.”
The word “apostle” means “one who is sent.” Having received Christ during the Mass, we are sent forth as emissaries of the Gospel in the world. Each of us is called to be a modern day apostle, glorifying God in our everyday lives and “preaching” the good news of the Gospel through simple Christian witness.
If we are to guard against the temptation to simply ‘go through the motions’ once we have committed the new mass responses to memory, we must continue to examine the import of the words that we are saying. Taking into account the words of the dismissal, how can we better glorify the Lord by our lives and announce the “good news” as Christian apostles in the world? Acting as leaven and enabled by God’s grace, we can raise up our fallen world to the glory of God.
So what are you waiting for? Go!
Nick Wagman is the Project Management & IT Coordinator for the Catholic Apostolate Center.