Bible Text: “Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits and to proclaim the good news... the kingdom of heaven has come near”. Matthew 10. 1-7
The word apostle came from the greek word “apostolos” which means the one who is sent. There are two kinds of followers of Jesus Christ. The first group of followers are called disciples which mean mere students or learners. The second group are called apostles which are composed of the twelve. They are the symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel. They are chosen from among the disciples and formed the core group or the inner circle of the followers of Jesus Christ. They are called the elders of the followers of Christ.
The apostles are humans like us. When you recall who they are, they are very prone to human frailties. One of them betrayed their master. One of them denied Jesus in His most difficult moment. He was almost abandoned by most of them. However, they were given opportunities to redeem themselves back again. The transformation was not a lukewarm change but a total dedication and commitment to their Lord. After Jesus rose from the dead, they are no longer afraid to speak up about Jesus. They courageously faced their persecutors and happy to die as martyrs for the sake of their love for Jesus. This is what we need in our church nowadays, faithful people in Christ who are ready to wage their lives for the sake of their love for Jesus.
The formation of apostles begins with listening to the word of God. It took them time, endurance and sacrifice to learn from Jesus. They have to endure the scorching heat of the sun to walk with Jesus. They have to be patient to understand the words of Jesus Christ. The word of God is indeed the foundation of their life. They were formed according to the word of God so that they can effectively transmit the teaching of Jesus to others. This is the very reason why they are called the “one who is sent” so that they are living witness of the word of God by word and deed. We have scarcity of vocation in our country. Vocation campaign is not enough to hold in the parish during the mass to encourage young men and women to devout themselves for this ministry. We need to have an intense ministry of the word in our parish. It’s hard to invite them to pursue priesthood and religious life when they do not feel the transforming effect of the word of God in their lives.
For the meantime, we need to practice the basic demand of apostleship. Be ready to set aside your own wants because you will be used to follow what he wants. Let us try to surrender ourselves to God and let Him be our riches. Simplicity of life will surely attract the grace of God to work in us.