The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated.
Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’
The commission given to the disciples, and to the Church, is very clear: make disciples; baptise; teach them to observe the commands I gave.
The order of these things will vary according to Church practice, most notably whether infants or adults are baptised – sometimes learning the commands precedes baptism, sometimes it follows it.
However if the Church is truly to make disciples – and not ‘just’ perform liturgical rites – those being initiated need to be made aware of that abiding presence of Jesus to the Church and her members, and desirous to respond more and more to that presence through their lives.
It is through our presence to him, almost as much as through his presence to us, that discipleship is formed and fostered.
Baptistery, Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool. (c) 2006, Allen Morris.