May 2024

‘know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time’. Matthew 28.20 (JB)

These are the closing words of the Gospel of St. Matthew, following on from verse 19 in which Jesus gives the Great Commission to his disciples: ‘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’.

Then come the final words that Matthew records Jesus as having said: ‘Know that I am with you always, to the end of time’.  Although not one of the ‘I am’ sayings that John uses as metaphors in his Gospel, we can take this very much as an ‘I am’ saying.  It reminds us to be glad that God is present with us throughout our lives, through all of our challenges, ‘to the end of time’.  Knowing in our hearts, beyond all doubt, that God's presence is a source of strength on which we can and must draw, provides us with the will to live each day acknowledging His presence and drawing strength from it.

In whatever place we find ourselves, we can be aware that we are standing on holy ground.  We may not be called to remove our sandals, but we can  acknowledge God's presence with us at all times and in all circumstances.  Perhaps you may have discovered Richard Rohr's ‘Trinity Prayer’?  Here are a few lines:

God for us, we call you Father,

God alongside us, we call you Jesus,

God within us, we call you Holy Spirit ...

Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness,

We can only see who you are in what is.

During the ministry of Jesus on earth, His disciples never knew what would happen next.  Despite the emotional roller-coaster that the disciples experienced over the years, they still had the resolve to obey Jesus's command to make disciples, and to baptize and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May we see our part today in carrying on this work in the places in which we find ourselves, knowing ‘I am with you always; yes, to the end of time’.  These are wonderfully reassuring words to use in contemplation and to live by every moment of the day.