34 —The Work Entrusted to the Apostles.

The Work Entrusted to the Apostles.

Read St. Matt, xviii.  15-20; St. Luke xxiv.  46-48.

[15] So they taking the money, did as they were taught: and this word was spread abroad among the Jews even unto this day.

[16] And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Our Lord sums up the tasks entrusted to the apostles mainly under three heads:

1.  They were to be witnesses all over the world of the reality of the life, and death, and resurrection of Christ. “You are witnesses,” He says, “of these things.” Before Jews and Gentiles, among those who had never heard the name of Christ, before kings and rulers, they were to be witnesses for Christ; never flinching before reproach, outrage, imprisonment, torture, death; everywhere confessing Christ crucified.  Am I such a witness for Christ, even where I have to suffer for my loyalty?

2.  They were to administer, in Christ’s name, the Sacraments of the Church, especially Baptism in the name of the Blessed Trinity, and Penance for the remission of sins.  These were to be the channels of the grace of God, the means of applying to the souls of all who should receive them the merits of Christ.  We cannot overrate the dignity and importance of the Sacraments through which the treasures of God’s love flow into our souls.

3.  They were to teach those whom they converted, to observe all things that Jesus had commanded them.  He who keeps every precept of the law except one virtually disobeys the whole of it.  He who accepts all the dogmas of the Church with one exception is a heretic and an unbeliever.  Do I keep all God’s law?  or do I mar my obedience by some one willful act of disobedience?

Challoner note to verse [18] All power: See here the warrant and commission of the apostles and their successors, the bishops and pastors of Christ’s church. He received from his Father all power in heaven and in earth: and in virtue of this power, he sends them (even as his Father sent him, St. John 20. 21) to teach and disciple, not one, but all nations; and instruct them in all truths: and that he may assist them effectually in the execution of this commission, he promises to be with them, not for three or four hundred years only, but all days, even to the consummation of the world. How then could the Catholic Church ever go astray; having always with her pastors, as is here promised, Christ himself, who is the way, the truth, and the life. St. John 14.


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