I go to mass to draw water from the well and quench my thirst. It’s like going to the market on the weekend to stock up on fresh produce to last the week. No one has a grocery store in their home, so one must go there periodically to get fresh produce.
I go to mass weekly to store up treasures in my heart – disposition towards love and compassion through prayer, community, the Eucharist, meditation and the wisdom of the Gospel and sermon, as well as an understanding of God’s plan for me at this very moment in time through the Gospel readings and how they apply to my life at this very moment with whatever I am going through.
The word “mass” comes from the Latin word “missa”, for “dismissal”. It signifies the end of mass, because it is at the end of mass that the congregation is dismissed in order to bring the peace and love of Christ out into the world. The significance of mass is therefore as a new beginning, and it is by no accident that the Church decided to hold weekly mass at the beginning of the week. Sunday mass symbolises the end of the last week, and renewal for the week to come, the gathering of fruit for our hearts to see us through the new week, a quenching of our thirst. For we are limited, and need to be renewed spiritually with communion with God, through the Eucharist, the ultimate symbol of Christ’s self-emptying to help fill our needs, just as we need food, in order to have the strength to continue to empty ourselves for others in order to carry on Christ’s saving mission each day. In this way, mass signifies a new wave for the in-breaking through each of us of the Kingdom of Heaven into the world.
When the priest says “go in peace”, it is as though he were a grocer saying to me upon paying my bill, “now go, and use the strength this food will give you to do good for others”.