February 13, 2013
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am taking to good news today from Matthew 28:16-20, which is the end of Matthew’s gospel.
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. Whey they saw him, they worshipped, 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.”
In the end are new beginnings. It’s interesting that I end the gospel of Matthew on Ash Wednesday, marked with the ashes of the palms of last Palm Sunday when we greeted Jesus upon his arrival in Jerusalem, the beginning of his end time on earth. With this end of his mission on earth, Jesus now commissioned his disciples with a new mission — to make disciples of all peoples, not just the Jews.
Isn’t it interesting that even though the apostles hurried to Galilee to meet Jesus as instructed by the angel through Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, and now encounter him, they both worshipped him and doubted at the same time? Sometimes that seems like a curse to me, worshipping and yet doubting at the same time. However, I think it recognizes our natures as both spiritual and material creatures. Monte reminded me the other day of something Fr. Mike Scully has said, “There’s no faith where there’s no doubt.”
When I doubt, I have only to think of these last words from Jesus, “I am with you always.” When I am in darkness, when I feel hopeless, when I am hurting, I have only to ask, “Are you there, Lord?” And he will answer, “I am with you always.” He always answers my doubt , my questioning, with a desire to know him, to be with him. He does not fail in his faithfulness to his promise to be with me always.
I am reading each day this Lent Wondrous Encounters by Franciscan Richard Rohr. In his introduction he writes, “There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty.” For many months now I have been trying to discern what task it is the God wants to use me for. I think I may have discerned that while at the same time realizing that it could also be many other things. The point is to love and serve others. That is the task he has prepared me for. That is what my one and only life is for. It is only is doing something about, getting about doing it, that my life becomes absolutely valuable and alive. Jesus is telling me that no matter what I choose to do to accomplish God’s will for me, he is with me today, tomorrow, and always. That’s where I can draw my strength, my determination, and my courage. “I am with you always.” In the beginning and at the end and all the times in between when I may doubt and wrestle with questions.