Matthew describes Jesus’ farewell, tracing the lines of power that should guide his disciples for all time, the outline that should mark his Church so that she faithfully fulfills his mission.
The starting point is Galilee. There Jesus convokes them. The resurrection mustn’t bring them to forget what they lived through in Galilee with him. There they had heard him speak of God with moving parables. There they had seen him alleviate suffering, offer God’s forgiveness and welcome the most forgotten. It is precisely this that they must continue transmitting. Among the disciples surrounding the Risen Jesus there are «believers» and there are those who «vacillate».
The narrator is realistic. The disciples «bow down». Without doubt they believe, but in some there arise doubt and indecision. Maybe they’re scared, they can’t grasp what this all means. Matthew knows the fragile faith of the Christian communities. If they aren’t counting on Jesus, they’ll quickly burn out.
Jesus «comes near to them» and enters into contact with them. He has energy and power that they’re lacking. The Risen One has received from the Father the authority of Son of God with «full power in the heavens and the earth». If they rely on him they won’t vacillate.
Jesus indicates to them precisely what must be their mission. It’s not exactly «teach doctrine», nor is it just «announce the Risen One», «proclaim the Gospel», «implant communities»… But everything will finally be oriented to one objective: «make disciples» of Jesus.
This is our mission: make «followers» of Jesus who know his message, live in harmony with his project, learn to live as he did, and reproduce his presence in the world today.
Activities as fundamental as baptism, commitment to adhere to Jesus, and the teaching of “all he commanded” are ways to learn to be his disciples. Jesus promises them his presence and constant help. They won’t be alone or abandoned. Not even if they are few. Not even if there are just two or three.
Such is the Christian community. The energy of the Risen One sustains them with his Spirit. All is directed to learning and teaching to live as Jesus did and from what Jesus was. He continues alive in his communities. He continues with us and among us healing, forgiving, welcoming… saving.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf