In the early Church, after the Mass had ended, the Latin words used to send people forth were “Ite, missa est” (literally meaning “Go, she—meaning you, the Church—has been sent”). The word “Mass” takes its namesake from “Missa,” which is related to the word “Missio” – the English root of the word “mission.”
At her core, the Church exists for a sole reason: mission. Her mission, of which we are all apart, is to bring Christ to all people and, as he commanded us, “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). And as Archbishop Aquila writes of the Church in this week’s Easter reflection, “Everything we do, every teaching and practice, every doctrine and devotion, is for the singular purpose of helping every person encounter and be transformed by the love of God for which they are made. This mission is first Christ’s, given to him by his Father, which he then entrusted to us, his Church.”
Your mission as a Catholic – should you choose to accept it – begins with baptism and is renewed at the Mass. The Mass is where each of us encounters Christ and where he replenishes our spirits so that we, too, may go and make disciples. It is fitting and even providential that the Mass dispensation is being lifted just as the Archdiocese of Denver embarks on a mission of renewal. Indeed, it’s safe to say it was God’s plan all along, whether any of us knew it or not.
The Lord is calling each of us to mission as we all rencounter Mass this weekend, on Pentecost. Just as the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, that same spirit descends upon us each week at the Mass. It is what equips us and strengthens our resolve to be witnesses of faith, hope and love in a world that so desperately desires it. In order to face these apostolic times we live in as described in the below pastoral note and article and proclaim the Gospel as Christ’s apostles, we must find sustenance first and foremost in the Mass.
For more information about the return to Mass, visit archden.org/return.