May 1996

The Word of Life, taken from Scripture, is offered each month as a guide and inspiration for daily living.

"I am with you always, until the end of the world" (Mt. 28:20)

Jesus is risen. Desiring to speak to his disciples, he invites them to go up on a mountain in Galilee and he gives them instructions for the future. He is again surrounded by the Eleven. They prostrate themselves before him, because they have become fully aware that he who is now in their midst is the Lord of heaven and earth. The Father has given to the Son "all power" - including that of coming to judge the world at the end of time.

Jesus in turn entrusts to his disciples the task of proclaiming, in his name, the good news of salvation to all nations. This they are to accomplish through baptism and by "teaching them to observe" all that he has commanded them. Baptism, thus, is not enough: it must be transformed into life. However, the great undertaking of bringing light to all nations will not be a human accomplishment, for Jesus says:

"I am with you always, until the end of the world"

Before he returns as judge, Jesus will continue to be close to his disciples in order to support them. He will be present among them, not only when they gather around the table to celebrate his death and resurrection and to nourish themselves with the Eucharist, but always and in every place.

Thus, a new era has begun for humanity, an era characterized by the presence of the risen Jesus. This presence is the reality which unifies the world, which continually gathers together "all nations" in every age and in every place, and introduces them into the Father's Kingdom of love. This presence constitutes the Church in its most profound essence.

"I am with you always, until the end of the world"

Jesus is called "Emmanuel," which means "God-with-us." Because of his resurrection, he is near to all of us, truly with us.

And, since Jesus is living among us, the words he said 2,000 years ago are not merely a splendid reminder of a person who existed in the past, but rather, they are words which he addresses right now to me, to you, to each one of us personally.

It is to us that he brings comfort and salvation. It is us he continues to serve, especially if we are poor, alone, or in difficulty. It is we whom he helps when we fall and whom he encourages in our trials.

"I am with you always, until the end of the world"

Jesus dwells in his Church. Where then, can we encounter him? Where can we find him?

He is right around the corner; he is right beside me and right beside you.

He hides himself in the poor, the despised, the little ones, the sick, in those who seek advice, in those deprived of freedom. He is in the ugly, in the outcast. He said: "I was hungry and you gave me food" (Mt. 25:35).

He is present in every community that puts his teachings into practice. He is present even in a very small community such as the family or a group of friends or companions at work. In fact, two or three persons are enough, when united in his name(see Mt. 18:20).

When we pray, united in this way, he is present. And it is his presence that makes our petition efficacious.

Since his presence assists and helps those who proclaim him to the people, this is true for us, too, who are called to give witness to him.

He is persent in those who were chosen to be his ministers.

And finally, as you know, he is everywhere on earth, in the Eucharist.

What more could we ask for?

Let us learn, during this month, to discover Jesus where he is. Let us permit him to address his divine words to us. Let us allow him to give us his powerful help.

Chiara Lubich