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3-Point Mass prep: The Greek words in Matthew and their meaning

Ascension Chapel Jerusalem

Sr. Amata CSFN

Ascension Chapel in Jerusalem

Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 05/20/23

The disciples went to Galilee to receive the task of "making disciples."

The Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew 28:16-20

1. A word of introduction

In today’s Gospel, we learn about an important promise that Jesus made to his disciples before he ascended to heaven. At the same time, he gave them a task to complete. It is an ever relevant assignment and applies to us too.

2. Keywords

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. (…)

Jesus 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.”

A play on words is used in this Gospel passage to express the depth of the message. The Evangelist Matthew uses the term “disciples” (Greek “mathetai” – disciple, follower) to describe the twelve Apostles: “The eleven disciples went to Galilee.”

Going to heaven, Jesus says to them, “Make disciples of all nations.” In the original Greek, the verb “matheteuo” is used here. Jesus, therefore, gives his disciples the task of making disciples, as he made them — that in this way they may continue his mission on earth.

Then each of us, Christians, is not only a disciple of Jesus but sent by him to make disciples of others. This mission continues to this day and will continue.

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. 

“God is with us” – this conviction is the linking element that binds the Gospel of St. Matthew. At its beginning, Matthew announces the coming of Jesus as Emmanuel, which literally means “God with us” in Hebrew. It ends with Jesus’ assurance: “Behold, I am with you.”

Interestingly, the expression “behold” (Greek “idou”) is significant here. It means a reality that endures, that is within reach, that is before one’s eyes. Jesus is close to every one of us, it is not telling a story of the past, it continues. 

3. Today

Jesus is near, at your fingertips. However, he does not impose himself.

What do I do to be close to him as well? How much time do I spend praying, simply sitting down and being with Him?

In prayer, He gives us the strength to live a happy life and make the right choices. He also gave each and every one of us the task of making others his disciples so that others may experience the happiness of being close to God. 

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