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A person close to me who knew I was preaching this weekend approached me and shared that the last line of this gospel reading was one of her favorites in all of the New Testament- ” And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

I started to reflect on the meaning of this line of scripture.  Fr. Scott Lewis ends his reflection of the week with this same line.

In this second abbreviated segment of his article “God prepares us for our glorious inheritance”, Fr. Lewis reminds us what Jesus meant by making disciples of the rest of the world and how Christ’s  last words were perhaps the most encouraging words of Gospel:

Part II: I am with you always.

…Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples of all nations and to teach them everything they have learned from Him. …The emphasis of the shorter original commission is on sharing and discipleship, especially following the pattern and example of Jesus. We dare not even think of making disciples of other nations if we ourselves are not true to Jesus’ teachings.

This is a crucial distinction for over the centuries Christians have frequently tended to focus on baptizing other peoples rather than on discipleship and example. Efforts to bring others into the fold were often mixed with the pursuit of wealth, domination and power that characterizes empires and ideologies.

The resulting exploitation and oppression form some of the saddest chapters in Church history. Jesus wanted us to pass on the good news but mostly by example and inspiration. It is not about numbers but helping all people live a deeper, richer life that is both genuinely human and divine. But true discipleship begins at home.

We are not alone in this struggle — in one sense Jesus departed but in another sense He didn’t go anywhere, for He leaves us with the most encouraging words of the New Testament: I am with you always.

Please click here to read the entire reflection


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