Grace and peace to you, from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
We have come to the end of Matthew’s Gospel, and we find the disciples traveling to Galilee because the women, who have seen Jesus alive, passed on the message Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” When the disciples finally see Jesus, they have two emotions at the same time. They are amazed and begin to worship Jesus; but at the same time, they doubt that what they are experiencing is real.
I find that, hearing about the disciples – even with Jesus standing right in front of them – having doubts about what they are seeing, to be very comforting. Because we, who are also followers of Jesus, have times when we doubt as well. We may not want to admit it even to ourselves, but when life seems out of control, when we lose someone we love as Gary’s family has, or when we see shootings and violence, when we hear or watch the news, how can we not have doubts?
But today, we also hear Jesus say, “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” In our heads, we believe and know that God is with us always. I think the common English translation of this passage speaks more to the heart of the matter. It says, “Look, I myself will be with you every day, until the end of this present age.” It’s one thing to think about Jesus being with us always, but when we hear Jesus is with us every day, it gets to my heart. It’s so personal to hear Jesus say, “I will be with you every day.” Every day Jesus is with us. On Sunday, Jesus is with us in the bread and wine, in the Scripture read and preached.
But every day? Wow! Parents can’t even say that to our children. We can promise to be with our children always, but can we be with them every minute of every day? Of course not. That wouldn’t allow our children to grow and be independent. But that’s what Jesus promises. On the great days and the lousy days, God is right there with us, consoling us, and cheering us on. Whatever we do, God is with us.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we hear Jesus declare God’s complete love for us. And we also hear God calling us to put that love into action. Because for God, love is not a noun, it is a verb. Jesus calls us to GO! Go out into the world, take this love that we have been given and give it away, through serving our neighbors, by sharing the Good News of God’s love, and inviting people to come and see what God is up to.
God’s love is a gift that works best when we give it away. God’s love is endless. There is enough for everyone. It’s an unlimited resource – providing, through our hands, food enough to feed all who are hungry and welcome enough for all who need a safe place to live. Compassion enough to demand that all are treated fairly no matter their race gender or nationality, courage enough to stand up when we see injustice. God is with us. Go out and share God’s love with the world. Amen.