The Mission of the Twelve Apostles
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church
This excerpt from St. Cyril of Alexandria's Commentary on the gospel of John (Lib. 12,1: PG 74, 707-710) on the apostolic Mission and vocation of the 12 Apostles is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles on October 28th (the new testament reading being taken from I Corinthians 4:1-16). The name of Saint Simon usually appears 11th in the list of the twelve apostles. Nothing is known of him except that he was born at Cana and is surnamed "The Zealot." Saint Jude, also called Thaddeus, was the apostle who asked the Lord Jesus at the Last Supper why he had manifested himself only to his disciples and not to the whole world (John 14:22). St. Cyril was one of the greatest of the Early Church Fathers. For a general overview of the Early Church Fathers, click here.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed certain men to be guides and teachers of the world and stewards of his divine mysteries. Now he bids them to shine out like lamps and to cast out their light not only over the land of the Jews but over every country under the sun and over people scattered in all directions and settled in distant lands. That man has spoken truly who said: No one takes honor upon himself, except the one who is called by God, for it was our Lord Jesus Christ who called his own disciples before all others to a most glorious apostolate. These holy men became the pillar and mainstay of the truth, and Jesus said that he was sending them just as the Father had sent him.
By these words he is making clear the dignity of the apostolate and the incomparable glory of the power given to them, but he is also, it would seem, giving them a hint about the methods they are to adopt in their apostolic mission. For if Christ thought it necessary to send out his intimate disciples in this fashion, just as the Father had sent him, then surely it was necessary that they whose mission was to be patterned on that of Jesus should see exactly why the Father had sent the Son. And so Christ interpreted the character of his mission to us in a variety of ways. Once he said: I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance. And then at another time he said: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by him just as he was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach they themselves should take to their ministry. From what he said they would gather that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealings never to do their own will but the will of him who sent them, and as far as possible to save the world by their teaching.
Surely it is in all these respects that we find his holy disciples striving to excel. To ascertain this is no great labor, a single reading of the Acts of the Apostles or of Saint Paul’s writings is enough.
This writing from St. Cyril of Alexandria is featured in the Early Church Fathers, Evangelization, and Church (ecclesiology) sections of The Crossroads Initiative Library.
Be sure to check out these other great articles about the Apostles -
The Apostles: Timid Men who Won the World -- John Chrysostom
The Apostles - Who Were the Twelve?
Follow Us -
Join us on Facebook
Join us on Twitter
Be a part of the “new springtime” of evangelization! Your tax-deductible gift helps us use TV, radio, and the web to proclaim the message without compromise but in language even the young can understand. Click here to donate now.
Click here to download, print and share the Mission of the 12!
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
The Early Church Fathers
The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!
A society characterized by the loss of respect for life, violence, exotic religious cults, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Sound familiar?
Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus
Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine
Early Church Fathers 2 DVD Set—$49.95
Early Church Fathers 2 CD Set—$18.00
The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter
In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers. Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most important questions of our day. In this talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us today.
Retail - $9.00 CD