Scripture:Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And Jesus came and said to them, “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16, 18a, 19-20)
Reflection: At the end of Matthew’s gospel only eleven disciples are left. Judas, the betrayer, went off and hanged himself. So, the eleven disciples meet Jesus on a mountain, one of the Matthean Jesus’s favorite places to say anything important. This Moses look-a-like commissions the disciples; he sends them to the nations to evangelize. Furthermore, he promises to be with them until the end of time. So, wherever they go, he goes, too.
Those who are commissioned are given power and duties by the Matthean Jesus. Jesus shares the authority that has been given to him through his cross and resurrection. Then, he explains that their duties include evangelization of Gentiles and Jews; baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and teaching the way of the higher righteousness that Jesus has preached throughout Matthew’s gospel. In other words, they are to teach that a person does the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
Maybe the most important word in Jesus’s final words to his followers is, Go. A spirituality of mission includes the response of going to where one is commissioned to go and doing what one is commissioned to do. The mission is real, and it requires much effort, especially when it is given to one belonging to a culture of comfort. In a culture of comfort, one prefers to stay at home, seated on the couch or in the recliner. In a culture of comfort, not saying anything is preferred to evangelizing the various nationalities living in the same neighborhood. And teaching by one’s example of living correct. Since Matthew’s gospel ends with the great commission, no one knows how well the eleven disciples responded to Jesus’s words. However, in this day and time it is not too hard to determine how many people on the street where one lives respond to the same commission.
Journal/Meditation: What is your response to Jesus’s commission to go to the nations, to baptize, and to teach?
Prayer: Almighty Father, you shared your power with your Son, who commissioned his followers to spread the good news of his death and resurrection through baptism with the whole world. Grant that my response to his commission may bring the gospel to all I meet. I ask this through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.