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Invited to a meal - Good-bye until the next time (5)

A feast must be a singular event that will happen at a particular point in time. There is a definite beginning and an end. A perpetual feast runs the risk of becoming commonplace and losing what distinguishes it from any daily occurrence. A feast is memorable if it breaks our routine and offers us an opportunity to meet people other than those close to us. It is an occasion to enlarge the family circle. A successful feast, however, is also an experience that we hope to enjoy again. With the farewells, we can sense a bit of nostalgia and we look forward to the next occasion when we meet.

There is a similar process at the feast of the Mass. The Concluding Rite is very important. For the third and last time, the priest addresses us. The Lord be with you. For the third and last time, we respond. And also with you. This rite reminds us that though the Mass has ended, a new phase has begun. These words have a missionary connotation.

Go and share the peace you have received. Our response is immediate. Thanks be to God. Our mission is to bring peace to the world and make Jesus’ presence felt by others. We demonstrate our missionary zeal whether by our outstretched hands, compassionate hearts or friendly smiles. We hear the words, Go in the peace of Christ. This means that we choose to fulfill Jesus’ wish that he expressed to his disciples after his resurrection. Then Jesus came and stood among them. «Peace be with you»  (Jn 20:19).

The words of the Risen Christ should remain with us throughout the week. These words will bear fruit wherever we go. If the Concluding Rite is meant to encourage the disciples who are setting out on a mission it also implies that we are expected to return next Sunday to our Father’s house.

Ghislaine Salvail, sjsh
Translated by Honore Kervin-Borrelli


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