The great commissioning by our lord Jesus

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit Avila (The Freeman) - May 24, 2020 - 12:00am

Today is the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus back to the right side of the Father, which the Vatican observes today as World Communication Day. But first we go to the gospel of today found in Matt.28:16-20.

“16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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There are two elements in today’s gospel narrative. First, that the Ascension of our Lord into heaven was witnessed by his disciples. In today’s lingo, our Lord Jesus Christ finally went into heaven to work at home, like what most of us are doing in this era of ECQ. Actually we understand what our Lord was instructing his disciples when he told them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Clearly this is a sort of last will and testament given by our Lord in order for him to complete his mission on earth. Call it the Great Commission for his Galilean Ministry lasted only for three years, and he only began recruiting the most ordinary of people to become his disciples. So as Catholics we are commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ to evangelize others who do not know the name of Jesus. Lest we already forgot, when our Lord Jesus was here on earth he started with only 12 apostles and after 2,000 years of Catholicism, we are now a billion Catholics on this earth.

I’d like to point to our Catholic brethren that the evangelization of the words of Jesus Christ isn’t only for bishops and priests. Lay people are part of this plan by our Lord. This is why today we also celebrate World Communications Day for in this modern age of mass communication we can do our best to evangelize to whoever cares to listen to us, even if we did this evangelization in our Facebook page.

This reminds me of the lyrics of Tim Rice in the song “Superstar” sung by Judas in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” “Why did you chose such a backward time and such a strange land…if you come today you would have reached the whole nation, Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.”

Call it a very timely World Communications Day in the sense that this global pandemic has literally shut down the whole world, including all churches. In the last three months we have only heard the Holy Mass celebrated by parish priests in their churches and seen through television or through our cellphones. Even Pope Francis gave his “Urbi et Urbi” blessing from the Vatican to the whole world via the internet with no people inside St. Peter’s Square.

While we may have virtual access to the Holy Mass, but the reality is we do not realize that we are having a fasting on the Holy Eucharist. We have never tried this in the grand scale that the global pandemic has done. But at least our forced home stay for three months have some positive results; it allowed many people to use the internet to know more about the teachings of the Catholic Church especially that our Lord Jesus tells us to make disciples of all nations.

Again, I would like to emphasize that evangelizing to other people is not just the work of Bishops and priests. For more than 10 years now, I have been writing this gospel narrative every Sunday in The FREEMAN and have a catechism show on MyTV with Fr. Lucas Inoc and to think I did not even study Theology. But on the other hand St. Peter was only a fisherman. For me, this is just the right work for a lay person on World Communication Day.

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