6. Eucharist and Mission
At the end of the Mass the deacon, or in his absence the priest, says to us "Ite, Missa Est". Our celebration is over. Go now to live and share with other people what we have received, heard, sung, meditated and prayed. The Mass sends us on mission.
The first duty which the Eucharistic celebration enjoins on us is to live the faith and share it with other people. Evangelization in the express form of proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ is a priority (cf Paul VI: Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22). We must share with other people "the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:8). Every Catholic — priest, consecrated person or lay faithful — will do this according to that person's vocation and mission in the Church and in the world.
At the Eucharistic celebration Jesus is also sending us to show Christian solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, and the needy in general. At the Last Supper he himself washed the feet of his Apostles, thereby teaching us mutual love and service as an injunction of the Holy Eucharist (cf Jn 13: 1-15). He taught us that the last judgement will be based on whether we have shown love and solidarity towards the needy (cf Mt 25: 31-46). Pope John Paul II says that the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebration can be judged from how we love the poor and people in difficulty (cf Mane Nobiscum Domine, 28).
In his first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI illustrates beautifully how love of God necessarily carries with it love of neighbour. The Holy Eucharist promotes both in a magnificent way. The Holy Father says: "The saints — consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta — constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbour from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its realism and depth in the service to others" ( Deus Caritas Est, 18).
Brother and Sisters in Christ, in the Eucharistic mystery our beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is giving us the inestimable gift of himself. He asks for our response. Shall we refuse to pay him back with love? May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary obtain for us the grace to respond with generosity, with constant faith, with heartfelt adoration and with apostolic dynamism.