THE ASSEMBLY OF THE SEVENTY APOSTLES

January 4

From the Prologue

Besides the Twelve Greater Apostles, the Lord chose Seventy Lesser Apostles and sent them to preach the Gospel, "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place He intended to visit, He said to them, ` The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.' Go on your way: behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this household' " (St. Luke 10:1-5). But, as Judas, one of the Twelve, fell away from the Lord, so it was with some of the Seventy who abandoned the Lord not with the intention of betrayal but because of human weakness and faintheartedness. "As a result of this, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him" (St. John 6:66). As Judas' place was filled by another apostle, "So they [The Apostles] proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, `You, Lord, Who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two You have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place'. Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles" (Acts of the Apostles 1:23-26); so also were the places of these lesser apostles filled by others that were chosen. These Seventy Lesser Apostles labored at the same work as did the Twelve Great Apostles; they were co-workers with the Twelve in spreading and establishing the Church of God in the world. They endured many sufferings and malevolent acts from men and demons, but their strong faith and fervent love for the resurrected Lord made them victors over the world and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.





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