Today (Jan 4 on the Church Calendar) the Church commemorates the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles.
“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.” (from the Prolog)
Who were these Seventy men: James the brother of the Lord, Mark the Evangelist, Luke the Evangelist, Cleopas the brother of Joseph the Betrothed, Symeon the son of Cleopas, Barnabas, Justus,Thaddaeus, Ananias, Stephen the Archdeacon, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, and Parmenas of the seven deacons, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Onesimus, Epaphras, Archippus, Silas, Silvanus, Crescens, Crispus, Epenetus, Andronicus, Stachys, Amplias, Urban, Narcissus, Apelles, Aristobulus, Herodion, Agabus, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobus, Hermas, Linus, Gaius, Philogogus, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Olympas, Tertius, Erastus, Quartus, Euodias, Onesiphorus, Clement, Sosthenes, Apollos, Tychicus, Epaphroditus, Carpus, Quadratus, Mark called John, Zenas, Aristarchus, Pudens, Trophimus, Mark, Artemas, Aquila, Fortunatus and Achaicus. (You can read about the lives of the 70 here.)
But the reading from the Prolog also includes a sober reminder regarding some of the Seventy Apostles:
“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).”
What a sober reminder for me, as there are times when I am tempted to want to toss in the towel. Though perhaps what prompts these thots in me at times are, in actuality, some sort of side/minor issue that I have mentally stired and fed on.
I may have times of doubt; but how often are some of these doubts initially fueled by my being sidetracked on a smaller issue?
May I not ‘major in the minors’… but rather, may I remain in “faith and fervent love for the resurrected Lord.”
The whole Prolog text can be read online: here