Matthew 28:16-20

This is the first and last appearances of the risen Jesus to the eleven disciples. It was in Galilee that they received their first call, and their first official mission. And it is there, that everything will begin again. Jesus pronounces a solemn declaration. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. This authority of Jesus, born of his oneness with the Father, is the basis of the mission that the disciples are about to receive.

He conveys a triple mission:

(1) To make disciples of all nations, the disciple follows, lives and forms community with the master, seeking to imitate his way of living.

(2) To baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. To be baptized in someone’s name meant to assume publicly the commitment to observe the proclaimed message. This meant the same as being baptized in the name of Jesus and the same as being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

(3) To teach them to observe all the commands he gave them. We reveal the face of the God whom Jesus revealed to us. It is the summary of the name of God, the summary of the whole of the Old Testament, It is the final summary in Matthew’s Gospel.

When one hears a name for the first time, it is just a name. The more we live with the person the more the name becomes a synthesis of that person. God’s personal name is YAHWEH. We already come across this name in the second narration of creation in Genesis (Gen 2:4). The deep meaning of this name is described in the book of Exodus on the occasion of the calling of Moses. God replies by simply reaffirming what he had already said, “I Am who I Am”. In other words, God is saying I am certainly with you and you cannot doubt this. The text then goes on. This is the same certainty that Jesus communicates to his disciples in his last promise on the mountain: “I am with you always, yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20).

~Fr. Chesco