If Saint Paul had been required to write exams, he would have been marked down: “Too complicated!” Today’s second reading from Ephesians, though complicated, is an important prayer: that each of us might come to know Jesus Christ more intimately. Coming to mass tonight is witness to such a longing. Maturity in faith is about noticing this desire within; longing for and looking to come to know Jesus Christ more intimately.
God invites us to a more mature faith for our own growth but also that we might go forth to instruct, to teach; maybe in humbler, less dramatic ways than in past ages, but nevertheless to go forth and to make disciples. Matthew ends his Gospel with that powerful phrase: “Go forth; make disciples ...” Known as the Great Commission, these words have inspired women and men for 2000 years. Roman martyrs, medieval cathedrals, intrepid missionaries, serious scholars, holy men and women – all played their part. May we, their descendants, continue the tradition!
Today Christianity often seems to be on the back foot: hesitant, withdrawn. Total satisfaction in this world sometimes seems just around the corner. Then the dream fades. Christianity claims that in Jesus we have a fullness that will fill us. This fullness may not be satisfied until we see God face to face in heaven but there can be moments in this life when we really do “taste and see that the Lord is good”. True there will spiritual drought, bitterness and hunger. But that is how it has always been – even for Jesus.
Christians must not fear the secular world. Nothing created is alien to God. Already, as the creative Word of God, Christ touches all creation. Our task is to bring alive for others the divine in our world. “Go, therefore, confidently making disciples ...”