There are three other texts for dismissal that are new in the third edition of the Roman Missal. The bishops at the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist had proposed that, in order to “make more explicit the relationship between Eucharist and mission … new dismissal formulas be prepared … which underline the mission in the world of the faithful who have participated in the Eucharist.” Pope Benedict XVI approved this suggestion and selected three new formulas for dismissal.The first new dismissal text gives us a clear idea of why we are being sent out:
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. Mk 16:15; Eph 6:19The core of the Church’s mission is evangelization, the preaching of the Gospel for the salvation of souls. This duty belongs to all the faithful, not just to the ordained and religious. The Concluding Rites are short so that “we can get to evangelizing right away,” in the words for Fr. Tom Margevičius. “If we rush out of the church doors, it should not be because we want to beat other cars out of the parking lot, but because we can’t wait to tell others about Jesus.”
Have you ever noticed the same people in church, week after week? Have you ever wondered why no one new was showing up? Perhaps the reason is that no one has asked them to go to Mass! It does not require a professional to ask someone, “Would you like to come to Mass?” Maybe there is a person in your neighborhood who is thinking about the Catholic Church but does not know where to start; maybe you are just the one to talk to them.
The Mass itself is a good means of evangelizing, but it does not exhaust the Church’s activity. The Eucharist is the source of all the Church’s evangelical efforts, as well as their summit: everything we do to preach the Gospel flows from our communion with Christ, and this preaching leads others to full communion with Him and His Church. But between the Concluding Rites of one Mass and the Introductory Rites of the next, we should be living the reality of the Mass in the world, making Christ present by our words and deeds. Fr. Margevičius explains that Mass “call[s] us out of our busy worlds … to worship the Father through Christ in the Spirit, so that this Spirit empowers us to bring people back to the Father through Jesus Christ, whom we have encountered in the Eucharist.”
The example of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus serves us well. They had journeyed seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and the day was almost over. But they wasted no time after they recognized the Lord: “They rose that same hour and returned [seven miles] to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven… Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Lk 24:33, 35)