Here is part of today’s Gospel reading: ‘And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him’.

St Jerome wrote: ‘The order in which the apostles were divided and the distinction of each one were given by him who plumbs the depths of the heart. The first to be recorded is Simon called Peter (to distinguish him from the other Simon, who is called the Cananaean from the village of Cana in Galilee, where the Lord turned the water into wine). He also calls James the son of Zebedee because he is followed by another James, the son of Alphaeus. And he associates the apostles by pairs. He joins Peter and Andrew as brothers not so much in the flesh as in the spirit; James and John, who left behind their natural father and followed the true Father; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican. The other Evangelists, in listing the names, put Matthew first and then Thomas; nor do they mention the name publican [tax collector], lest in recalling his former way of life they seem to insult the Evangelist. But Matthew, as we said before, places himself after Thomas and calls himself a publican so that “where sin abounded, grace has abounded even more.”’

The Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles; weak and fragile though they were when they were first called. We give thanks for them, that grace may abound in us too, and may God bless you this day.