The Great Commission, as presented at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (cf. 28:16-20), could easily be called “The Great Gift,” as the risen and ascended Christ, who possesses “all power in heaven and on earth,” empowers the disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
From that mountaintop 2,000 years ago down to the present age, the church has been conducting its divine mission and sharing the gift of baptism with the same generosity with which our Savior gave it to us.
This generous impulse of the church is mirrored in the Book of Isaiah: “All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money, wine and milk, without cost!” (55:1). Although speaking of the Eucharist, Pope Francis also captured this theme in his latest apostolic letter, “Desiderio Desideravi.” He wrote: “No one had earned a place at that Supper. All had been invited. Or better said: all had been drawn there by the burning desire that Jesus had to eat that Passover with them.”
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