Archive | 6:41 am

Leaping to Action

4 Nov

Before ascending to His Father, Jesus instructed His apostles:

“All authority 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” (Mt. 28:18-20).

One of the many striking features of this passage is Jesus clearly did not come to establish the “First Baptist Church of Galilee,” but rather His purpose was much more ambitious in scope: He came to gather all peoples and nations into one universal (i.e., “catholic”) Church. And in this Church, everyone is called to discipleship, to follow Christ unreservedly. Truly a great fruit of Vatican II has been the renewed emphasis on the legitimate role of the laity–our call to holiness, to evangelization, and to ordering secular society in accordance with God’s will.

Another thing that I find striking about Matthew 28 is that we as disciples are called to observe all the commandments. Christ doesn’t say we should merely “learn” the commandments or observe only those commandments that work for us. After all, is He the Lord of our lives or not? How many Church teachings can we reject and still claim to be faithful disciples? Rather than choose to go our own way, we should echo the words of Simon Peter: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life” (Jn. 6:68).

Like St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Mass ends with a commissioning, as we’re sent to bring the light of Christ to all the world. We’re not supposed to keep our faith to ourselves or under a bushel basket, but instead it is given so we in turn can give it away. Faith, without words, without actions, is dead (cf. Jas. 2:17).  As Archbishop Chaput says, it’s not an accident that the book of the Bible is called “Acts of the Apostles” and not “Pious Sentiments of the Apostles” or “Good Intentions of the Apostles.” Continue reading