CCC 2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”1 Strengthened by this mission, the apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.”2
CCC 75 “Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.”3
CCC 80 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.”4 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”.5
CCC 189 The first “profession of faith” is made during Baptism. The symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since Baptism is given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”,6 the truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.
CCC 232 Christians are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”7 Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son and the Spirit: “I do.” “The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.”8
CCC 543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations.9 To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:
The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.10
CCC 644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.”11 Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some doubted.”12 Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.
CCC 645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.13 Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm.14 For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.15
CCC 691 “Holy Spirit” is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children.16
The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God’s breath, the divine Spirit.17 On the other hand, “Spirit” and “Holy” are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms “spirit” and “holy.”
CCC 730 At last Jesus’ hour arrives:18 he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands19 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,”20 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples.21 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”22
CCC 767 “When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church.”23 Then “the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun.”24 As the “convocation” of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.25
CCC 788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit.26 As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”27
CCC 831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:28
All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one. .. The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.29
CCC 849 The missionary mandate. “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men”:30 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age.”31
CCC 857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:
– she was and remains built on “the foundation of the Apostles,”32 the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;33
– with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,34 the “good deposit,” the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;35
– she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, “assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church’s supreme pastor”:36
You are the eternal Shepherd
who never leaves his flock untended.
Through the apostles
you watch over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the flock
to share in the work of your Son. ..37
CCC 860 In the office of the apostles there is one aspect that cannot be transmitted: to be the chosen witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection and so the foundation stones of the Church. But their office also has a permanent aspect. Christ promised to remain with them always. The divine mission entrusted by Jesus to them “will continue to the end of time, since the Gospel they handed on is the lasting source of all life for the Church. Therefore,. .. the apostles took care to appoint successors.”38
CCC 1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood.39 The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person.40 The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.
CCC 1122 Christ sent his apostles so that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.”41 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”42 The mission to baptize, and so the sacramental mission, is implied in the mission to evangelize, because the sacrament is prepared for by the word of God and by the faith which is assent to this word:
The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God. .. The preaching of the Word is required for the sacramental ministry itself, since the sacraments are sacraments of faith, drawing their origin and nourishment from the Word.43
CCC 1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan.44 After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”45
CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.46 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.47 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.48 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
CCC 1444 In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”49 “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.”50
CCC 2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”51 In Baptism, the Lord’s name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. The “baptismal name” can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.”52
CCC 2743 It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.53 Our time is in the hands of God:
It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop,. .. while buying or selling,. .. or even while cooking.54
1 Mt 28:19-20.
2 Mk 16:20.
3 DV 7; cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15.
4 DV 9.
5 Mt 28:20.
6 Mt 28:19.
7 Mt 28:19.
8 St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermo 9, Exp. symb.:CCL 103,47.
9 Cf. Mt 8:11 10:5-7; 28:19.
10 LC 5; cf. Mk 4:14, 26-29; Lk 12:32.
11 Lk 24:38-41.
12 Cf Jn 20:24-27; Mt 28:17.
13 Cf. Lk 24:30,39-40, 41-43; Jn 20:20, 27; 21:9,13-15.
14 Cf. Mt 28:9, 16-17; Lk 24:15, 36; Jn 20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.
15 Cf. Mk 16:12; Jn 20:14-16; 21:4, 7.
16 Cf. Mt 28:19.
17 In 3:5-8.
18 Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
19 Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.
20 Rom 6:4.
21 Cf. Jn 20:22.
22 Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.
23 LG 4; cf. Jn 17:4.
24 AG 4.
25 Cf. Mt 28:19-20; AG 2; 5-6.
26 Cf. Jn 14:18; 20:22; Mt 28:20; Acts 2:33.
27 LG 7.
28 Cf. Mt 28:19.
29 LG 13 §§ 1-2; cf. Jn 11:52.
30 AG 1; cf. Mt 16:15.
31 Mt 28:19-20.
32 Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14.
33 Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.
34 Cf. Acts 2:42.
35 Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14.
36 AG 5.
37 Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I.
38 LG 20; cf. Mt 28:20.
39 Cf. LG 10 # 2.
40 Cf. Jn 20:21-23; Lk 24:47; Mt 28:18-20.
41 Lk 24:47.
42 Mt 28:19.
43 PO 4 ## 1, 2.
44 Cf. Mt 3:13.
45 Mt 28:19-20; cf. Mk 16:15-16.
46 Cf. Jn 3:5.
47 Cf. Mt 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; LG 14; AG 5.
48 Cf. Mk 16:16.
49 Mt 16:19; cf. Mt 18:18; 28:16-20.
50 LG 22 # 2.
51 Mt 28:19.
52 CIC, Can. 855.
53 Cf. Mt 28:20; Lk 8:2.4.
54 St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: PG 63, 585.