All the Evangelists, when they describe the risen Christ’s meeting with his apostles, conclude with the “missionary mandate”: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,…and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:18-20; cf. Mk 16:15-18; Lk 24:46-49; Jn 20:21-23).
That every Gospel has common elements: the Passion, the feeding of the thousands, is well remembered. Less remembered is the mandate described with various details. Pope John Paul II does well to remind us of this. The mandate to spread the Gospel was as central as the Paschal Mystery was to every Christian. We would do well to regard it much, much more seriously.
Luke and John involve the Holy Spirit, our springboard into the meat of this chapter:
This is a sending forth in the Spirit, as is clearly apparent in the Gospel of John: Christ sends his own into the world, just as the Father has sent him, and to this end he gives them the Spirit. Luke, for his part, closely links the witness the apostles are to give to Christ with the working of the Spirit, who will enable them to fulfill the mandate they have received.
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