“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.”
These words, recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew, are the final words of our Lord. They are a reminder of who we are called to be (disciples), of what we are called to do (make disciples) and who called us in the first place (I am with you always).
There were only Eleven back then. Today, there are over one billion. Not all with the same enthusiasm or zeal as the first Eleven, but many observing what the Lord commanded: Love of God and love of neighbor.
“I will be with you till the end of the age.” How comforting these words are. They are the inspiration in every marriage ceremony, “I will be with you till the end of my life” or “till death do us part.” These words bind a couple together, allowing the two to become one, an imperfect reflection of the Holy Trinity, that eventually, nine months later, is completed with the arrival of a third person. I will be with you till the end of the age is extremely comforting. I am not alone. I have never been alone. I have always been loved. I have always been with Him.
I still remember the fear I felt in my heart just moments after telling my boss I was quitting work so as to enter the seminary. Nothing could bring me peace, not even prayer. But I knew in my heart I had been called, and I knew in my heart I would have no peace if I did not do this. And yet, the fear still held on to me. When I returned to my office and packed my belongings, I picked up a Christian Bible that had been left (I guess for me) by my retired co-worker. At that moment I remembered something that St. Augustine and Thomas Merton had done during their discernment process. They picked up their Bible, closed their eyes, asked the Lord what He wanted from them, opened the Bible and placed their finger on the opened page. Then they opened their eyes and looked to see what God’s Will was for them. It worked for them; I was hoping it would work for me. I said my prayer, opened the Bible and opened my eyes. The page was nearly empty. My finger had fallen upon the Gospel of Matthew, his last Chapter, and the second to last verse. “Go, therefore…and baptize…and I am with you always until the end of the age.” The fear was gone. I closed the Bible and continued to pack. I never spoke about it to anyone. Who would fully understand this miracle that had taken place just for me?
Of course my life has never been the same again. I have met so many people ever since I left my career, my possessions, my country, my home and family. I have baptized and put to rest so many souls. I have feed more than five thousand people with the Blessed Sacrament, the Bread of Life. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation the Lord has forgiven more sins through me than through the Apostles! It is true what Jesus said, You will do more than I did. Of course it is always through Him, in Him and with Him.
I am with you always is our guarantee in life. It is our guarantee in marriage. It is our guarantee in the priesthood. It is the only guarantee that makes life worth living.
Now go and make disciples; complete the picture! Allow the two to become one and the three coming to perfection.
I am with you always means there is work that must be completed.