The Twelve Apostles
July 11, 2018
Wednesday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mt 10:1–7
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority over the unclean spirits to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness.These are the names of the twelve apostles: first Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon, the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray him.Jesus sent these twelve on mission with the instruction: “Do not visit pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go instead to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. “Go and proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven is near.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Jesus had a mission he didn’t want to accomplish alone. He summoned people to his company and empowered them with authority to drive out demons and heal diseases, and commissioned them to evangelize the world. We read this commissioning not only in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew but also in the Gospels of Luke and Mark. In Matthew’s version which we read today, there is a special emphasis on the number twelve (12) in referring to the Apostles. The number twelve triggers in the listeners the memory of the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew emphasizes this number to underline the authority of Jesus to call the twelve tribes to the kingdom of God.
In Matthew’s version it is interesting to note that Jesus did not empower the apostles to convert people but only to heal and to announce that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The empowerment to convert others came later after the resurrection when Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Much later Jesus empowered them to teach as when he said: “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Matthew’s version has a lot of good lessons to teach us. Before ever attempting to convert others, it is best to start as healers and busters of evil in the world. We can heal wounds with the balm of forgiveness that perhaps we alone can give. Indeed there are many people around us who continue to bleed deep until we have embraced them in forgiveness. We can start weakening the forces of evil by falling out from the ranks of Satan’s minions. In plain language this is starting the wave of change by changing ourselves. In so doing we become Jesus’ modern partners in the fulfillment of his mission. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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