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Twelve Apostles

by Jul 10, 2024Friar Reflection

Today’s Gospel describes the first commissioning of the Twelve Apostles.  Jesus actually sends his disciples twice, once in today’s reading (10:1-7) and the second time in the so-called the “Great Commissioning” at the end of the Gospel (28:16-20).  In today’s Gospel Jesus chooses twelve of his disciples and makes them apostles.  The Greek word apostolos means one who is sent out on mission, so a missionary: “Jesus sent out (apostello) these Twelve after instructing them.”  These twelve disciples or students are commissioned to be apostles or missionaries to spread Jesus’ message.

Jesus sends them out on a restricted mission: “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.  Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  They are Jesus’ representatives, and their message must be the same as Jesus:

Jesus: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (4:17).

Apostles: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (10:7).

This restricted mission becomes an unrestricted mission at the end of the Gospel in the “Great Commissioning” (28:16-20)

“The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them…Jesus approached and said to them…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 behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

The now eleven disciples are sent on mission to all the world and to make new disciples.  Their message and their teaching must always be the teaching of Jesus: “…teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.”

We are all disciples of Jesus through our baptism and like the first disciples we have all been commissioned to go out into our world to evangelize and teach the message of Jesus particularly his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: “stop judging, stop condemning, forgive, love your enemy” (chaps. 5-7).

Like the first apostles our message must always be the message of Jesus.  We are invited each day to hear anew the words of Jesus and to prayerfully reflect on his deeds that we may be true apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ last words in this Gospel are his promise to all of us: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Image: “Christ Great Commission icon by bobosh_t is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.