Go, You Are Sent: Preparing Well For The Week Ahead

A few days ago, we talked here about preparing well for Mass. Just as important, however, is how we prepare for our week at the end of Mass.

We all know that far too many folks leave right after Communion. If this seems rather, um, impolite: it is. Imagine that a dear friend invites you over to his home for a sumptuous dinner. You can tell he has put much time and thought into its preparation and presentation. As you clean the last bite of food from your dish, you grab your car keys and head for the door. No word of thanks, no time spent after the meal enjoying each other’s company. Now imagine that friend is Christ. You can see how leaving right after receiving Communion is an ill thought-out plan.

After we receive Communion – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ – we should spend time in prayerful thanksgiving. We can join in song and also use the time of silence after all have received the Eucharist to do this.

At the end of Mass, the priest gives the final blessing. It is hard to imagine the person, in today’s world, who does not need the grace of this blessing.

The word “Mass” gets its name from the Latin ite, missa est: go, you are sent. The priest (or deacon, if he is present) dismisses the people. The liturgy does not simply end; we are sent forth into the world to carry out the Good News in our everyday lives. Like the disciples, we all have the mission of living out and sharing the Gospel with all we meet. This is our baptismal right and promise.

After the final hymn, it is also good to spend just a few minutes in silent prayer. You have just received the greatest gift on Earth (the Eucharist), and have participated in the greatest prayer on Earth (the Mass). A moment of thanks to God is the very least we can offer.

Let’s face it: all of us have hardships, trials, skirmishes and difficulties in our lives. We have joys and celebrations as well. Sunday Mass is the high point of our week spiritually, and it is also our time to prepare for all that life has in store for us in the week that follows. The graces received at Mass are immeasurable; they are the “soul food” necessary for us to lead holy lives.

Don’t leave early, and don’t miss out on the final blessing. And remember to thank your gracious Host for the heavenly meal you’ve taken part in.