May 21, 2023: Seventh Sunday of Easter (Solemnity of the Ascension)
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
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.”
In this reading from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. Their mission no longer is to spread what Jesus has taught them only to their own Jewish community but to the entire world, to baptize and to teach. A formidable task but Jesus also tells them he will be with them always, even until the end of the age, the end of time. He has also told them to baptize in the name of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I suspect they are feeling more than a little confused at this point. But Jesus continues to promise that he will be with them. In modern language he’s telling them to have no fear for he has their backs.
This is our mission too. We must teach the love of God to all. And we do that by showing God’s love in our actions, attitudes and everything we do. Our actions must speak louder than words for anything that we say to be believed or to be taken seriously. A quote often attributed to St. Francis is an example of this: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” God is in us and it is our responsibility to show that by demonstrating God’s love for all in everything we do.