Friday, June 14, 2013
Disciples of all nations
As I was driving home from Mass today, I was pondering the purpose of the church. What did Jesus ask his apostles to do?
This is what he said to his apostles, who went on to become the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church:
Jesus came and said to them, "...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 lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
For me, discipleship is about a relationship. Jesus is asking his apostles to help people become students of Jesus, practitioners of his ways. Disciple and discipline are from the same root. Both speak of learning, of practice. The Catholic Religious might call it a 'rule of life' that centers on the relationship with Christ. There is rhythm to it. Just as a student at a university has to show up for class in order to learn anything, so a disciple of Christ has to spiritually 'show up'. In my case, that means reading scripture every day, attending Mass, daily prayer. For me, discipleship is only possible by being in deep relationship with him. Jesus promises that for his disciples, he will be with them until the end of the age. And so far, I am finding that sacraments, the liturgy, the rhythms of the church seasons have indeed been deepening my love for him, strengthening my relationship with him and giving me the discipline of keeping him first and foremost in my day to day life. All of this is by his Grace alone. He promises he is with us, and that is HOW we are going to be disciples and make disciples of all nations.