21. — The Mission of the Apostles.
The Mission of the Apostles.
Read St. John xx. 20-23.
 And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.
 He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.  When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.  Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.
I. Our Lord had come not merely to bring peace to His apostles and to fill their hearts with lightness and with joy; this supernatural happiness was intended only as the prelude to the work He was going to entrust to them. First peace for themselves and after that they were to go forth as the messengers of peace to others. First a firm faith for themselves, and then they were to carry that faith to others. We shall never do much to benefit the souls of others until we have ourselves put into practice the counsels that we give to others.
2. In these words: “As My Father sent Me, I also send you,” Jesus gave to His apostles their future mission and the powers necessary thereto. What are these powers? They are no other than those that the Eternal Father had bestowed upon His Divine Son. As He was invested in His Sacred Humanity with graces unlimited flowing into it from His Divine nature, so His apostles are to have graces and gifts innumerable. What a respect and reverence we ought to have for priests, since they are the vicegerents of Jesus Christ Himself.
3. If priests thus receive graces corresponding to those bestowed on the Son of God, they have corresponding responsibilities. They must obey as Christ obeyed, they must be servants of all as Christ was, they must be willing to sacrifice themselves as Christ sacrificed Himself; and not priests only, but all who aspire to be apostles must remember that their model and type in dealing with those to whom they minister was He who was meek and humble of heart, who came not to do His own will, but the will of God.
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