This year’s solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity offers Matthew 28: 16-20 as basis for reflection.
The first two verses, “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28: 16-17), present the picture of an imperfect Church which is always in need of Jesus Christ.
The phrase, “the eleven disciples went”, calls to mind the treachery and the absence of Judas even as it serves to highlight the weakness that besets the Church today. Another proof of this weakness, this imperfection, is provided by the passage, “When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28: 17).
It is toward the weak, imperfect Church that Jesus comes, as suggested by this passage, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me’”(Matthew 28: 18). Through this authority Jesus reveals the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons, equal in majesty, splendor and glory; and touches the imperfect Church with the perfection of God.
This reality should be understood with the saying, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5: 48; and should be tied to God’s ability to forgive and to love even one’s enemies. This is also evident in the answer given by Jesus to Peter who asked, “How often should I forgive?” in Matthew 18: 21-22. “Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times’”.
So the commission to go and make disciples, to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach (cf. Matthew 28: 19-20) is a commission to bring the love and forgiveness of a perfect God to a sinful world through the imperfect Church. The Church is able to respond favorably to this commission because of the guarantee given by Jesus, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).