Navarre Bible Commentary:
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Pretzel and Trinity from JesusDidItAll
Matthew 28:16–20
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”  
Catholic Exegesis:
The Second Vatican Council teaches  that if we are to derive the true meaning from the sacred texts,  attention must be devoted “not only to their content but to the unity of the whole of Scripture, the living tradition of the entire Church, and the analogy of faith. […] Everything to do with the interpretation of Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church, which exercises the divinely conferred communion and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God” (Dei Verbum, 12).
St. John Paul II, when he promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church,  explained that the Catechism “is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium.”  He went on to “declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion” (Fidei Depositum).
Cited in the Catechism:
Passages from this Gospel reading are cited in the Catechism in several paragraphs.
Commentary:
Appearance in Galilee. The mission to the world
28:16–20. This short passage, which brings to a close the Gospel of St Matthew, is of great importance. Seeing the risen Christ, the disciples adore him, worshipping him as God. This shows that at last they are fully conscious of what, from much earlier on, they felt in their heart and confessed by their words—that their Master is the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Mt 16:18; Jn 1:49). They are overcome by amazement and joy at the wonder their eyes behold: it seems almost impossible, were he not before their very eyes. Yet he is completely real, so their fearful amazement gives way to adoration. The Master addresses them with the majesty proper to God: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Omnipotence, an attribute belonging exclusively to God, belongs to him: he is confirming the faith of his worshippers; and he is also telling them that the authority which he is going to give them to equip them to carry out their mission to the whole world, derives from his own divine authority.


On hearing him speak these words, we should bear in mind that the authority of the Church, which is given it for the salvation of mankind, comes directly from Jesus Christ, and that this authority, in the sphere of faith and morals, is above any other authority on earth.
The apostles present on this occasion, and after them their lawful successors, receive the charge of teaching all nations what Jesus taught by word and work: he is the only path that leads to God. The Church, and in it all Christian faithful, has the duty to proclaim until the end of time, by word and example, the faith that she has received. This mission belongs especially to the successors of the apostles, for on them devolves the power to teach with authority, “for, before Christ ascended to his Father after his resurrection, he […] entrusted them with the mission and power to proclaim to mankind what they had heard, what they had seen with their eyes, what they had looked upon and touched with their hands, concerning the Word of Life (1 Jn 1:1). He also entrusted them with the mission and power to explain with authority what he had taught them, his words and actions, his signs and commandments. And he gave them the Spirit to fulfil their mission” (John Paul II, Catechesi tradendae, 1). Therefore, the teachings of the Pope and of the bishops united in communion with him should always be accepted by everyone with assent and obedience.


Here Christ also passes on to the apostles and their successors the power to baptize, that is, to receive people into the Church, thereby opening up to them the way to personal salvation.


The mission which the Church is definitively given here at the end of St Matthew’s Gospel is one of continuing the work of Christ—teaching men and women the truths concerning God and the duty incumbent on them to identify with these truths, to make them their own by having constant recourse to the grace of the sacraments. This mission will endure until the end of time and, to enable the Church to do this work, the risen Christ promises to stay with it and never leave it. When Holy Scripture says that God is with someone, this means that that person will be successful in everything he undertakes. Therefore, the Church, helped in this way by the presence of its divine Founder, can be confident of never failing to fulfil its mission down the centuries until the end of time.


Source: The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries. Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.


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“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” St Jerome  
About Don Gonzalez 1057 Articles
I am a cradle Catholic, wandered in the desert of sin for 20 years and returned into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 2005. I am the founder of Joe Catholic, a lay apostolate designed by men for men. Our mission is to aid lay men in answering the universal call to holiness and equipping them to be the spiritual leaders of their families. Simply put, we help people learn, live and share their faith. I recently completed my Masters in pastoral theology from Ave Maria University and work as the Magnet Program Coordinator at the Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet in Dallas.

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