The word “Mass” comes from the Latin word MISSA (meaning sent or dismissed), a word that is spoken by the deacon or priest as the assembly is dismissed: “Ite! Missa est!” (“Go! You are dismissed!”)
The importance of this final act of the Mass cannot be overlooked. It's not a “dismissal” as we might normally think of that word: “Okay, you may go now.” Nor is it a punitive act as when one is “dismissed” (i.e., "You're fired!) No, this dismissal is very different.
In a real sense, the new Roman Missal changes the tone of the concluding rite. There is an urgency in the words. It is less “you may go now” and more “you MUST go now to proclaim what God has done for us here!” In slang, it might be “Go! Scram! What are you still standing here for? Go and take what God has given us here, and take it out to your workplaces, to your neighborhoods, to your families, your friends, EVERYBODY!”
There are four options for the deacon or priest to use. One is the simple “Go in peace.” We're familiar with that. There is also “Go forth, the Mass is ended.” Can you hear how the “Go forth” conveys much of the sense of being sent?
This sense is also obvious in the two remaining options, included at the command of Pope Benedict XVI. The first of these is “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” Say that out load and listen to yourself! It can't be more explicit! We are sent out on mission—to announce the Gospel, to be Christ’s witnesses, to work for the coming kingdom!
The remaining option for the dismissal is just as beautiful: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” Through what God has just done for us, and through what God has done to us in this Eucharist, go, and by our lives—by how we live and act and treat others and make decisions—by all of that, give glory to the Lord!
The Pew Lady's Conclusion
[thank goodness, Kelly...thought you'd never shut up!]
Hey, never mind that. Ahem:
Some people thrive on change…lots of people hate it. Personally? I'm not all that into change myself. But whether you love change or avoid it...it’s always a challenge.
By the grace of God, we’re up for it. Oh, sure, we’ll probably stumble a bit at the beginning. But, I’m confident that sooner, rather than later, we’ll find that these new words we’ll use at Mass will help us to elevate what is most important in our lives: our holiness.
May God bless you.