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Monday, November 14, 2011
The Dismissal is “the concluding part of Mass when the congregation is sent out to the world.” (From Bertram, J & Edwards, R 2009, A Simple Glossary of Catholic Terms, London: Catholic Truth Society: www.cts-online.org.uk). It would be futile to explain the history of the formula rather than focusing on its meaning.
In the past, when the congregation was told to go out to the world, it might have been understood as being sent to those who were lost. The Christian community, the followers of the true way, would be sent out to look for the lost sheep and the sheep that had never belonged to the flock and bring them to the right shepherd. Even if this is a wrong way of understanding our mission in the world, it is a much better way of understanding “life after Mass” than going and holding jealously on the graces gained from our Eucharistic celebrations.
When one is sent out after Mass, it is in order to go and share the graces one has gained from that Eucharistic Celebration. In other words, it is to bring that Mass to others, not convincing them that our way is much better than theirs, but to make sure that if there is anything we learnt from our gatherings it may also serve them.
During our Eucharistic celebrations, we experience a heavenly moment where we enter full communion with God. Sometimes we are tempted to remain there and pitch tents for the Lord like in Mark 9:2-10. The dismissal reminds us that this heavenly experience should be brought to others. People who love, they usually enjoy sharing whatever they believe will bring happiness and joy to others. Christians are supposed to be loving people and be enthusiastic in sharing what they gain from their Eucharistic celebrations…
Sharing supposes giving and receiving: the dismissal, as well as it sends us out to give, it also invites us to be willing to accept the good others might offer to us. In other words, it reminds us that we are a much bigger family than the one gathered in our assemblies and that we need to go out and live peaceful and harmoniously with those who do not belong to our Church.
In a few words: the dismissal sends us out to the world to share the graces bestowed on us, at the same time inviting us to be willing to recognise their reflections outside our cycles.
So, let us go forth and bring the Gospel to the beautiful world created by God who sends us into it.

Gustave Ineza OP


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