The Commissioning of the Disciples; Matthew 28:16-20

Article excerpt

THE eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I Am with you always, until the end of the age."

Continuing the mission

After bringing salvation to humanity by offering His life on the cross, Jesus ascends into heaven to share in the glory of the Father. His mission successfully accomplished, He heaves a sigh of relief and proceeds to forget about the puny creatures He leaves behind.

Todays gospel shows us that the above scenario in no way reflects what happened after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus does not sever His involvement with humanity when He ascends into heaven. Rather, He opens a new chapter when He commissions the eleven apostles "to make disciples of all nations." In effect, He calls on each one of us to baptize and teach those who will believe in Him through our word. He counts on us all to continue the evangelization that He Himself began. This is confirmed by His final words of assurance to His disciples: "And behold, I Am with you always, until the end of the age."

The mission is not to be narrowly interpreted in terms of proselytizing or catechetical work. While these are important, Jesus puts more emphasis on observing "all that I have commanded you. …