In the Gospels, the women searching for Jesus in the tomb are told: "Go, tell." At the end of Mass, the priest says: "Go." Is there any connection?
All the Gospels have Jesus and/or angels, saying to the women at the tomb, "Go tell . . .". Is this just to inform the disciples? Or is it "Don't keep this to yourselves; go out and proclaim the Good News"?
The "Go and tell" is frequent throughout the Gospels: sometimes it's an interior conviction that makes one proclaim. This was the case with Elizabeth's exclamation at the pregnant Mary's visit to her: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Luke 1.42), as well as Mary's response in the Magnificat.
This was also the case with the prophetess, Anna at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. "She came out . . . and spoke about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Israel" (Luke 2.38). So, too was the Samaritan woman's message to her people after the encounter with Jesus at the well (John 4).
At other times it's a clear verbal command as with the women at the tomb and with the disciples: "Go make disciples of all nations, baptize them . . . teach them" (Matthew 28.19), as well as with Paul on the road to Damascus "Go into the city" (Acts 9.6).
Jesus commissions the disciples in the Gospels: Go, take my Good News to the whole world. Go, give my healing and forgiveness to the hurting and lost. Bring them strength and courage in the face of suffering and obstacles so that with me they may triumph over sin and evil.
Go feed the hungry, clothe the poor, house the homeless, care for the sick and those in need. Go, see the risen Christ in all: your friends and neighbours, in those who treat you well and in those who mistreat you, in the poor and in those who beg. Don't just sit back satisfied that you have received my message.
"Go" was the Easter command to Jesus' disciples in the first century and so it is in the 21st century.
When the priest at the end of Mass says, "Go," we too are being sent forth as were the disciples. We are being given the commission to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, to go into the world with the enthusiasm of newspaper sellers of old who stood on street corners shouting the headlines.
We are to go and heal as Jesus did, to reach out to the marginalized and the suffering. We are "to wash one another's feet: You also should do as I have done" (John 13.14-15).
On the practical, everyday level, what does this all mean? Are we grumpy or do we deal pleasantly with those with whom we live and work on a daily basis? At Mass or in church activities, do we include new people in the parish and go out to greet them or do we stick to our own little group of friends? Do we offer help to our elderly neighbours?
How do we react when someone comes begging? One day, when I was walking to church, I spoke to someone who was begging and he said, "That person ahead of you didn't even look at me." Obviously, he craved attention more than money.
We are sent forth and we have the power to put others in a box or free them to become God's people. Because of us, others experience hope or hopelessness. Christ has resurrected and we are a "resurrection people" who, like Christ, make their lives a source of warmth and light for others.
Jesus tells his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to give them understanding and strength to accomplish his work. We, too, have been given the Holy Spirit and Jesus promises to be with us until the end of time. Jesus tells us that the Trinity makes their home in us.
Just imagine! What greater gift can there be?
Above all, Jesus tells us to travel the road of life joyfully, to go in the joy of the Easter season which no loss nor defeat can steal from us, "that my joy might be in you . . . and no one will take your joy away from you" (John 16.21).
Go, the Mass is ended, go and live in the joy and peace of Christ so all can see Christ in you. Go and be Christ to the world.
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