Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these . . . . // Matthew 10:1
In just a matter of a few sentences in today’s Gospel, Matthew goes from referring to the Twelve as disciples to call them Apostles. Many of us use the terms interchangeably, but there’s a significant distinction. The shift happened after Jesus got the group together and gave them authority and instructions for their mission (which is our mission too, to evangelize and share God’s kingdom with everyone). And so, the Twelve go from being followers of Christ, disciples, to being people on a mission to share Christ, apostles. In sharing the good news we join in the apostolic mission of the entire Church which has been handed down from the Apostles, though this idea of participating in the mission of Christ is not the same as the Apostles who were the first bishops.
When I think about it, I fluctuate between how I live out these terms and dispositions in my own life. Sometimes I feel more called to remain near to Jesus, to learn from Him, to simply be a follower that day because I don’t have the strength to do more.
On the other hand, in some seasons, I really do feel those graces equipping me to speak up, to share more of Christ and what I’ve learned about Him with someone else in a discussion—to be on a mission and to carry it out.
I guess I sort of flip-flop between these two positions, cyclically, and while I may have beat myself up about those seasons in the past—the ones where I didn’t feel like I had the graces or the strength to carry out the mission of evangelizing, I’ve begun to see each of those seasons are necessary for the other.
One is a sort of receiving time—being a disciple—and one is a sort of giving time—being an apostle. And we can’t give what we don’t have, which is why we have to always seek the face of God—in all seasons.
Which season are you in right now? Are you being called to remain near to Him, learning intimately from this time with Him? Or are you being called to go out and share His good news? How might this season prepare you for the next one?We can’t give what we don’t have. // Annie Deddens Click To Tweet