Lectio Divina for Most Holy Trinity May 30, 2021
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all 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."
they worshiped, but they doubted
Why did they doubt? Maybe their idea of who Christ was still was not completely in line with the truth of who he is. Maybe they wanted to believe but struggled like Peter did when he walked on the water. Whatever the case, their reaction to meeting the resurrected Jesus can teach us a lot about faith. Even when it’s hard to believe, we still can believe. We don’t have to be 100 percent certain that God is present, or is at work, or intervened in some way, in order to have faith in him and his faithfulness. We can have mixed thoughts and feelings. We can have doubts and still believe. St. Thomas doubted, and Jesus was still able to work with him and lead him to deeper faith. Next time you’re not sure if God is going to answer your prayers, believe he will anyway despite your doubt. Have faith through your patches of doubt, and God will prove his faithfulness. Faith is like courage and bravery. We are not courageous or brave when we have no fear. We are when we face our fears despite them. In the same way, faith isn’t about having no doubts. It’s about continuing to believe even when we do have doubts. Let this be an encouragement to push through our own doubt and continue to appreciate God for who he is, and not who we expect him to be.
All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me
When Jesus was before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor said, “Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:10-11). He echoes those words here when speaking to his disciples. Christ is establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth through the Church. When the Jews chose to have a king instead of a theocracy, God said to Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). But even then, Israel’s first two kings--Saul and David--were chosen by God. You may have heard of the term, “God’s permissive will”. Sometimes God allows bad leaders to come into power for reasons only he knows perfectly; but when he established the kingdom of heaven on earth, things changed. With Christ’s establishment of the Church, God’s kingdom on earth is no longer confined to the nation of Israel. It can now be spread throughout all the earth.
make disciples of all nations
When the priest dismisses us after Mass, he is in essence giving us the same commission Jesus is giving here. In fact, the word “Mass” comes from the Latin word missio, meaning “mission”. The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word for mission, apostolí. The priest says, “Go”, but he is not just dismissing us. He is commissioning us. He is sending us forth to make disciples of all nations. At the end of Christ’s ministry, he came to his disciples to give them a mission to carry on his own. Every priest since has carried on that same mission and passes it on to all who have been baptized in Christ.
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
The mission of the gospel is in the name. By revealing God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Jesus is proclaiming the Good News that God wants to be known by his greatest creation. What is more, he is revealing himself as Father, meaning he wants a loving familial relationship with mankind. In revealing himself as Son, he is giving us a glimpse of the mystery of the love between him and the Father. In telling us to baptize people from all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he is telling us to invite them into that relationship, into God’s family. That is good news indeed.
I am with you always
Throughout this mission Jesus walks right beside us. At times we may not sense that he is here, but whenever that doubt comes across us, remember that God is not some ideal unreachable deity that does not bother to stoop down to humanity. He is not like the gods of ancient mythology who did not care to involve themselves in human affairs too much. Our God came down to earth and lived a life as a human being. But more than that, he gave us his Holy Spirit so he could be right beside us always. He gave us the Eucharist so he can be not just with us, but within us. He is closer to us than our own hearts. He is also all around us because he is who is. He is existence itself, and he sustains everything in existence. He is most certainly still with us in many ways, and always will be.
Jesus, you are the word of God. Fill our hearts with who you are. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth. We are your messengers, and we come to you, open to your grace, ready to spread the gospel to all nations. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen
You’ve probably heard the proverbial line, “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.” As we contemplate this week’s Gospel reading, let’s remember how other people will see us as Christian witnesses through our words, deeds, and our ability to listen. All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. Take a moment to realize that he is in control, and we just need to follow him.
David Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report.
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