by Martin, sx.
Any Christian who attends the Celebration of the Eucharist is very familiar to these words: ‘Go in the peace of Christ” or “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” or “The mass is ended, go in peace.” Whatever formula is used by the presider to conclude the Eucharist, there is a key word that cannot be omitted: Go. If we would take a quick look at the history of salvation, we will come across this verb to go in several crucial occasions. When God appeared to Abraham in Haran, he ordered him to leave his country, the house of his father and to go toward an unknown destination that He, God, will show to him (Gn 12:1).
Moses was enjoying pasturing the flock of his father in-law when God revealed himself to him and said: go and get my people out of Egypt (Ex 3: 16). All the prophets heard as Isaiah, God saying to them: “Go and say…” When Apostles met Jesus in Galilee after his resurrection, he said to them: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go…” (Mt 28: 19).
The mandate to go whether ordered by God himself or by Jesus is always linked to a task. This task is mission. In the case of the disciples, the mission was to preach the Good News to all the nations and so to make them disciples of Christ. The prophets were sent with the mission to bring back the people of Israel to God by reminding them about the Covenant which was being forgotten. Obedient to the command of God, Abraham went out of his country in order to father a great nation, more numerous than the stars of the heaven and the sand of the shore.
We too, anytime we attend the Eucharist, we leave the church not as spectators leave a stadium or a theater. In fact, we do not leave the church or the chapel: we are sent out of it for mission. What is that mission about? It is all about the Good News we have heard and the love of God we have experienced. At the end of the Eucharist, we are sent by the Lord to bring this Good news and this love to our homes, families, communities, friends, offices, street etc. Renewed and strengthened by the Eucharist, we are sent to transform our world starting where we live by bringing Jesus into it. This means to make of our life a witness of the unending and unconditional mercy, patience, compassion, bounty, tenderness and love of God for all.
Anytime we enter in the church for the Eucharist, we fulfill a mission: “Do it in memory of me” (Lk22:19). Anytime we are sent out of it, another mission starts: “You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13-14). Though difficult and demanding this mission may be, we joyfully sing as we reach out to our day to day world: “Till the end of my days, o Lord, I will bless your name, sing you praise, give you thanks, all my days.”