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The commissioning of the Twelve

Gospel Reading: Mt 10:1-7
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: 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 Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.

Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ”

There are some interesting features in this roster of the disciples.

First, these Twelve disciples are also called “the Twelve Apostles.” The reason most probably is that the disciples are about to be sent out to do ministry, and “apostle” means “the one who is sent.”

Second, Matthew places the word “first” before the name of Simon Peter (v 2), both because Simon is the one of the first disciples called by Jesus (cf Mt 4:18-20) and because Peter will increasingly take on a leadership role among the Twelve (cf Mt 16:18).

Third, several of the disciples are identified in family terms, as “son” or “brother,” but three of the disciples have labels identifying them in non-familial ways: Matthew, Simon (not Peter), and Judas (Thaddeus). Judas Iscariot is remembered as the betrayer. “Iscariot” may be a geographical term, that is, “a man from Kerioth,” a village in southern Judea. Matthew is named as the “tax collector,” concurring him to the previous account of his call by Jesus (cf Mt 9:9), and Simon is specified as “the Cananean,” probably a title reflecting his participation in a zealous group of Jewish nationalists eager to throw off Roman occupation.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.