Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “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, 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 mentions only the appearance of the risen Lord to the women in Jerusalem and the last appearance to the eleven apostles in a place in Galilee. At his last appearance to his apostles Christ commissioned them to bring his gospel to all nations and to baptize those who believe him after hearing the gospel in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The mentioning of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity by name by the risen Lord in commissioning his apostles becomes the gospel reading of today’s Mass, which celebrates the Most Holy Trinity.
When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb after the sabbath of the crucifixion, they met the risen Lord, who told them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me (Matthew 28:10).” Today’s gospel tells us that the place that they met in Galilee was in a mountain. In the Bible, a mountain always symbolizes the meeting place between God and man.
Although all apostles worshiped the risen Jesus when they saw him, some doubted. They doubted because some of them could not recognize him in his glorified body, while others might not expect the resurrection. Nevertheless, this doubting and this unexpectation are greater proof of the reality of the Resurrection.
The first words uttered by Jesus to them are “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” With these words, Jesus told them with what authority that he commissioned them. It is the power that the Father has given to Christ over all creation and created beings in both heaven and on earth.
It was with this authority that Jesus commissioned the apostles to preach the good news about him to all nations and to baptize them, a sacrament of introduction of the new chosen people into the kingdom of God on earth. But the baptism must be made in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit so that those who accept the apostles’ preaching of Christ will be given the possession of the Blessed Trinity. Apart from preaching and baptism, the apostles were also charged with the task of teaching what Jesus had commanded them. That is to love God and love your neighbours.
Knowing that the need of our human nature, the final words of the departing risen Lord are “Go, I am with you always to the close of the age.” It is such a great encouragement to his apostles and to us as we are the successors of Jesus’ apostles in continuing the mission of preaching the good news.
The Gospel of Matthew was written for Jewish Christians. As the story unfolded, outsiders were introduced, such as the wise men, the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman. We too were outsiders once, but now are inside. We are baptised into community, sharing in the life of the Father, Son and Spirit.
Jesus shared authority with his apostles that they might continue what he had begun in bringing others into the faith community. He calls us to live our baptism and to move beyond exclusion of others to a community that is open to all. Amen.