Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

These words are among the last words the Apostles would be hearing from the glorified Body of the risen Jesus as He is about to ascend to His heavenly Father (Mt 28:20ff). The Greek text (tayrhein), translated here in Matthew as meaning: “to observe,” has many equally applicable nuances of meaning which are hidden in its singular  English translation -- all of which apply to the beautiful teachings of Jesus during the three years of His public life and summarized at His Ascension.

Thus, the fundamental meaning of the word “to observe” implies that the mission of the Apostles is first of all to keep watch over and guard the teachings of Christ, as well as the souls of those gifted with the Spirit-filled Baptism of Christ (Mt 27:36), with the further  nuance unconditionally to persevere in good works.

There is also the nuance to hold on to something so as not to lose it; “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all...” (Eph 4: 4-5).

And, in general, “to observe” also contains the sense to persist in obedience, in keeping God’s law and teaching; and thus to refrain from the sinful standards of the world (Mk 7:21-23).

What then Christ commanded of the Apostles, continues to the present day with their successors -- namely, all the bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, are to continue unconditionally the mission given to Christ by the Father (CF: John 17:9-26).

Let us pray for today’s priests, bishops, Pontiff and    ourselves that all of us will faithfully carry out the     integrity of Christ’s teachings, as found in the nuances of Christ’s command “TO OBSERVE” -- and let us remember, in the final analysis, it is Christ Jesus who is the Head of His Mystical Body -- the Church -- with the clergy and the laity, ITS subordinate members, who will ultimately be judged by the message of the prayer in the Preface at Mass: that the heavenly Father may see and love in us what He sees and loves in His Son -- as publicly witnessed by today’s faithful cardinals and laity of the Church.

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