REFLECTION | Ascension Sunday: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’

May 28, 2017 - 8:53 AM
Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

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.”
—Matthew 28: 16-20

A mandate was given by Jesus to his disciples and that is to “go and make disciples to all nations.” The authority and task on what to do was clearly given by Jesus to his disciples. The authority was delegated to the disciples to announce the good news to all and make disciples. This discourse is already in the end part of the gospel of Matthew, signaling that Jesus will soon leave them. Jesus was very clear and straightforward to his disciples on what he wanted them to do.

“Go and make disciples of all nations” refers to all corners and to all peoples of the world. Making them disciples require that you introduce them to Jesus who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Making disciples mean teaching them on what they are commanded to do and to observe the commandments rightly and faithfully. Jesus commissioned his disciples to do this and he is also asking us to follow this task today, too.

The 11 disciples were in Galilee as ordered by Jesus and there, on a mountain, the disciples met Jesus who recognized and worshipped Jesus but who remained doubtful.

They were doubtful because they all witnessed what happened to heir master. They saw how Jesus was crucified and had died. The disciples were still in shock and in denial. They doubted and yet obeyed their master. The instruction and order of Jesus for us to go and make disciples is possible not only by our preaching and teachings of the commandments of God but most significantly by our lives. Our witnessing is the key in making disciples, inviting the people around us through our works and deeds. This is still a big challenge for all Christians, to stand witness to God’s love and be channels of God’s love. Love is the mark of a Christian and it is also a task that every Christian shall do and must do.

One can make disciples through one’s preaching, teaching, and witnessing. Disciples are exemplary models of the master, hence, disciples must and follow the commandments of their master. And once, evangelization has taken place, the disciples baptize them. Baptism is God’s way of sharing his saving grace with us. For the Church, Baptism is the sacrament of initiation, one is initiated into the Church, his or her entry to the Church as a full member. One is baptized through water and the Holy Spirit and he is baptized in the name of God who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

A baptized person is obliged to follow and live out the precepts and commandments of the Lord devotedly. Once baptized, he or she becomes a Christian, a follower of Christ and Christ becomes his only Lord and savior. It is important for a Christian to live like Christ so one can share Christ with everyone through our small and simple ways. By becoming a good and responsible parent or child, that is already a great thing to do. As a parent, one’s priority is building one’s family and community. Our care and concern for everyone is a good sign of authentic discipleship.

When we make disciples and have them baptized, the Lord will always be in us, always with us. Today, the Lord still commissions us to go and make disciples and baptize them so the Lord will be with them and live in them. Every Easter Vigil, we are always reminded of our baptismal promises, thus, we renew and make things fresh again. Discipleship lived out in community, be it in the workplace, in the parish community, or in one’s group is still a challenge for the present disciples today. Authentic Christian discipleship should be marked by Jesus’ commandment of love and to love.

Today, the Church celebrates Ascension Sunday, forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. Let us rejoice in the Lord and with those whom He called, chose and sent.

Let us pray reflect and ask ourselves:

Do I take seriously Jesus’ words of commissioning to his disciples and to me today?

Did I do my task as a Christian in making disciples?

Do I live out my baptismal promises faithfully?

Have I inspired others to follow Jesus?

Am I sure that God lives in me? And I in Him?

Almighty and Ever living, doubtful and terrified but still you sent your disciples to the world to make disciples, bless us and make us worthy disciples as we continue the task you had given to your beloved disciples. May we live out our baptismal promises truthfully, faithfully and lovingly so we can become channels of your saving love and mercy. This we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray for those people whom we had promised to pray for; we also pray for all the priests, religious, lay missionaries, especially those who are in the missions preaching the Word and bringing Jesus to all parts of the world. For those who heard the Word and had kept it in their hearts; those who become authentic disciples, true followers of Christ.

For the Church, Ascension Sunday is also celebrated as the World Communication Day. We pray for all Social Communicators, especially the journalists and media practitioners.