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.”
(Matthew 28:16-20)

Scripture Study

28:18 All power: The Father vindicates Jesus at his Resurrection and gives him full dominion over creation (cf. Dan 7:13, 14; Eph 1:19–22). Jesus confers his authority on the apostles to preach the gospel and “make disciples” (27:19) as witnesses of his Resurrection (cf. Lk 10:16; Acts 2:32).

28:19 Go therefore: Christ’s commission to evangelize and catechize the world fulfills God’s covenant oath to Abraham that “all the nations” would be blessed (Gen 22:18; Gal 3:8). His outline for the Church’s mission is threefold: (1) Evangelizing all nations involves more than winning individuals; it entails the conversion of entire cultures. Every area of life must be brought under the Lordship of Christ and in line with the gospel. (2) The administration of the sacraments is essential to the Church’s mission and our response. [B]aptizing new converts is the first step in a long process of sanctification and participation in the life of the Church. (3) The transmission of all that Christ taught necessitates the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church to proclaim the gospel infallibly (cf. Jn 14:26). ● The Sacrament of Baptism incorporates Christians into the divine family of the Trinity as children of God (cf. Gal 3:26, 27). The single name of the Father, Son, and Spirit reveals the unity of God’s inner life and the oneness of his nature. This expression has become the normative baptismal formula for the Church (CCC 849, 1122, 1257).

28:20 I am with you always: Jesus’ parting words further elucidate Isaiah’s prophetic name for the Messiah, “Emmanuel … God with us” (1:23). The risen Christ’s ongoing presence in the Church is both ecclesial (18:20) and eucharistic (26:26–28); he thus directs and empowers the world-wide mission of the Church throughout history (CCC 860, 2743).

Scripture Reflection

This short passage, which brings to a close the Gospel of St Matthew, is of great importance. Seeing the risen Christ, the disciples adore him, worshipping him as God. This shows that at last they are fully conscious of what, from much earlier on, they felt in their heart and confessed by their words—that their Master is the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Mt 16:18; Jn 1:49). The Master addresses them with the majesty proper to God: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” omnipotence, an attribute belonging exclusively to God, belongs to him: he is confirming the faith of his worshippers; and he is also telling them that the authority which he is going to give them to equip them to carry out their mission to the whole world, derives from his own divine authority.

On hearing him speak these words, we should bear in mind that the authority of the Church, which is given it for the salvation of mankind, comes directly from Jesus Christ, and that this authority, in the sphere of faith and morals, is above any other authority on earth. Here Christ also passes on to the apostles and their successors the power to baptize, that is, to receive people into the Church, thereby opening up to them the way to personal salvation.

The mission which the Church is definitively given here at the end of St Matthew’s Gospel is one of continuing the work of Christ—teaching men and women the truths concerning God and the duty incumbent on them to identify with these truths, to make them their own by having constant recourse to the grace of the sacraments. When Holy Scripture says that God is with someone, this means that that person will be successful in everything he undertakes. Therefore, the Church, helped in this way by the presence of its divine Founder, can be confident of never failing to fulfil its mission down the centuries until the end of time.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.