Dies Domini 45: From Mass to “Mission”

Dies Domini predates the “new evangelization,” but the principle was very much in the mind of John Paul II as he discussed the missionary impulse from the Sunday Mass. Let’s read:

45. Receiving the Bread of Life, the disciples of Christ ready themselves to undertake with the strength of the Risen Lord and his Spirit the tasks which await them in their ordinary life. For the faithful who have understood the meaning of what they have done, the Eucharistic celebration does not stop at the church door. Like the first witnesses of the Resurrection, Christians who gather each Sunday to experience and proclaim the presence of the Risen Lord are called to evangelize and bear witness in their daily lives.

This kind of encouragement–giving witness to Christ by the life one lives–is part of Vatican II teaching in Ad Gentes.

Given this, the Prayer after Communion and the Concluding Rite — the Final Blessing and the Dismissal — need to be better valued and appreciated, so that all who have shared in the Eucharist may come to a deeper sense of the responsibility which is entrusted to them.

Good liturgical advice. We do have Pope Benedict’s suggested additions for the dismissal. But have these new elements just gotten lost in the verbiage of MR3?

Once the assembly disperses, Christ’s disciples return to their everyday surroundings with the commitment to make their whole life a gift, a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God (cf. Rom 12:1).

Even outside of Mass, we have the notion of sacrifice. How do we believers move beyond a tired sense of obligation and infuse our lives with that missionary impulse, that fire from  Emmaus?

They feel indebted to their brothers and sisters because of what they have received in the celebration, not unlike the disciples of Emmaus who, once they had recognized the Risen Christ “in the breaking of the bread” (cf. Lk 24:30-32), felt the need to return immediately to share with their brothers and sisters the joy of meeting the Lord (cf. Lk 24:33-35).

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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