These past weeks we’ve been looking at Advent through a missionary lens. We began
with the figure of John the Baptist, and then
we looked at what it means to share your faith. Last week
we looked at what we can do to learn about and live our faith.
Today I want to go back to where we started three weeks ago: We have to share our faith. That’s our missionary call. That is what John the Baptist did.
I am going to propose that this is also what Advent is about.
At the end of Mass, the deacon (if there is one) says, “Go”. In Latin it used to be “Ite, missa est.” “Missa” in Latin is where the word “Mass” comes from. “Ite, missa est” means, “Go, you are dismissed” or “Go, you are sent”. (Later, when the whole celebration was called “Missa”, this phrase in Latin came to mean, “Go, the Mass is over”. But originally, it literally means, “go, you are dismissed” – “dimissa est”).
The root of that word, “missa”, “Mass”, “dismissal”, is the same root as for the word “mission”. That’s what the Mass is all about: to send us on a mission. Everything the Church does is because the Church is missionary. The Church would not have grown had it not been missionary. The Gospels were written because the Church is missionary. The Bible was put together because the Church is missionary. The printing press was invented because the Church is missionary. Great art and sculptures and music were created because the Church is missionary. We have Mass because the Church is missionary. We have Catholic schools because the Church is missionary. We baptize because the Church is missionary.
Everything we do is because we have one mission: to make disciples of all nations. We have to become that mission.
I can’t tell you what words to use except that we must learn about our faith so we can share it. Perhaps a good place to start is always using words of hope and always preaching with joy (that’s why the pope’s Apostolic Exhortation is called The Joy of the Gospel
). A good place to start is living and sharing that joy. If we are not a people of joy, we are not a people of the Gospel.
Here’s a suggestion: Between now and December 25th, as we go shopping or go to the bank, let’s not be afraid or shy to use two words: “Merry Christmas.”
This Advent season, as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, let’s not just prepare our own hearts; let’s help others prepare. Let’s be the voice (using words) that cries in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching: firstname.lastname@example.org