Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
October 28, 2019
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles
All followers of Jesus are disciples of Jesus but all followers of Jesus are not Apostles. Discipleship is imitation of Christ or to become like Christ on this Earth. Apostles are chosen or elect people among his followers or without followers. St. Paul was not a followers of Christ but still chosen as Apostle. The meaning of Apostle is “one who is sent” or a missionary of Christ. The Apostles were Commissioned with Authority of Christ like they deposited Gospel truth , they proclaimed the Gospel message with the same authority of Jesus , they worked signs and wonders in the name of Jesus.
If we take Apostles and discipleship in today’s context , the Apostles are committed and dedicated Shepherds who sacrifice their life to study the Gospel truth and build the church on the foundation put by our Lord Jesus Christ by selecting 12 Apostles and proclaim the Gospel through their witness and proclamation. The disciples are the flock who follow Jesus in their own limitation and trying to be faithful and witness in their own way of life to the Gospel. We call the Apostles as Clergy or Pastors and for disciples as laity or people of God. We need not to be Apostles, Prophets or Visionaries to receive Jesus in our life but we can follow Jesus in our own walk of life. Apostles are the inner circle people who enter the Holy of Holy’s daily and meet the Lord face to face in their praise and Worship and receive the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. They are suppose to pass on those revelation to the people who are poor in Spirit. Apostleship is a stage of growth in the realm of Holiness where all the senses of the Spirit are exercised with the spirit of God.
Mother Mary was not an Apostle of Christ but remained a disciple of Christ as an obedient servant of Christ . Mother Mary though had the title of Mother of God but still preferred to be the handmaid of the Lord. If we see in context of Catholic Church , it is very clear between Laity and the clergy. If we see in other modern Churches , we see Pastors and believers. A laity or believer can become a clergy or Pastor and serve the Lord in the inner circle of Christ. In the same way a Clergy or Pastor can lose their anointing if they do not live their life in the inner circle of Christ and get caught up with the materialistic World just like Judas Iscariot lost his Apostleship. We see many ministries and parishes falling due to the Shepherds, not living in the inner circle of Christ. To lead the People or to be the evangelists or missionaries of Christ we need to be in praise and worship , Eucharist and be a Eucharist to others.
Today we see the clergy and Pastors are declining day by day not because God is not selecting them but the selected people do not live or exercise their commissioning or misuse their free gifts given by God for their selfishness and Pride. Moreover we see the laity and believing community becoming stronger in their spiritual growth and commitments and superseding the clergy and Pastors. Pope Francis in the Amazon synod discussed about commissioning committed Married Couples as priests and women as deacons. The Holy spirit inspires the Church, the body of Christ , his movements and the Church leaders must be attentive to these inspirations and act upon them. The modern churches have become fully apostolic in nature but are they standing on the solid foundation of Gospel truths of Christ or formed on their own ideologies as per their own conveniences. The Catholic Church is a pilgrim apostolic church , can we find any catholic evangelizing or the family is routed in the Word of God.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal is an apostolic movement of the Catholic Church but how many priests and Bishops are whole heatedly supporting and encouraging this movement. Modern Churches are becoming a bad witness in their street evangelistic approach with no witness. The Evil is watching at all our approaches and taking advantage of our weaknesses. We are an Apostolic Church called to proclaim the Gospel in Words and deeds in truth and love and this is our mission as Christians.