Hello Brothers & Sisters in Christ, I pray you all are doing wonderful! Recently I was asked by a parishioner about the word “Mass” and what it specifically means. It was a great question, and I wanted to share the answer with you all. I found a wonderful little blurb from a Church in Nebraska on the topic and include it below in italics:
“Mass” is an English rendering of the Latin term “missa.” In Latin the Mass ends with “Ite missa est,” which translated into English means “Go, it is sent,” the “it” being the Church. From the Latin word “missa” comes the English word “dismiss.” So “Mass” means “dismissal.” The celebration takes its name from the sending forth that occurs at the end of every Mass.
“Mass” is derived from the way the Mass was ended in Latin. Because of the familiarity of the ending, the celebration of our Lord’s Supper eventually became known simply as the “Mass.” There were actually two dismissals in the celebration — one in which catechumens (people who were not fully Catholic yet but wanted to be) were dismissed right after the sermon, and the dismissal at the end, when all the fully initiated Catholics, the faithful, were dismissed. There were two “Masses,” namely the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. The fact that we call this greatest of Christian prayers the “dismissal” points to the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Our Lord calls us to Himself and through His saving act invites us to a unity with God the Father through the power of His Holy Spirit. Jesus makes communion with God possible. But following Jesus does not stop with this communion, for once He has united us to Himself, He then sends us forth with a mission (a dismissal). “Go” is one of His final words to His disciples as He ascends into heaven in the Gospel of Matthew’s account. Hence, the way every Mass ends with “go” is at the heart of what we come to the Mass for — to be empowered by God and sent forth again. The “go” that is the very meaning of the word “Mass” receives its meaning from our communion with our Lord Jesus Christ during the Mass.
And so, as we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus tells us anew of His incredible love for us, renewing us in that love through our faithful reception of His body and blood. Once again, set aflame with divine love, Jesus sends us out to the world to shine His love that truly is the light of the world. Renewed by His life giving body and blood, we go confidently in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the good news of Jesus with the world. I pray God emboldens all of us with Holy Love & Holy Boldness to share Jesus with the world this week!
God Bless You!