When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
from Lk 6:12-19
What is an apostle , what is a disciple, and what is the difference? A disciple is a student of a teacher who needs but a curiosity or interest in what the teacher has to say. They might show interest for another reason than curiosity, or they might be looking to fill some need. Their discipleship might continue to an advanced level or they can end their studies quickly. The Apostle takes their learning to a new level. The word Apostle comes from the Greek apóstolos which means “one who is sent away.” The Apostle has learned their lesson well enough that they can deliver the teachers message to others on behalf of the teacher.To be an apostle curiosity is not enough, but it is the start. From their the apostle advances their learning and understanding to the point that they can explain the message to others. Finally the apostle must receive a blessing from the teacher to speak in his name: the apostle speaks with authority , and that authority is given by their teacher. The message they deliver is not their own, but is the message and teaching of their teacher.In Hebrew the term is” Shaliah .“ A Shaliah performs an act of legal significance for the benefit of the sender, as opposed to him or herself. Jesus granted his apostles power or authority “….he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” In carrying out Christ’s mission the apostle is “In persona Christi”: Latin for “in the person of Christ.” Here are two quotes:
Pope Pius XII (1947): Only to the apostles, and thenceforth to those on whom their successors have imposed hands, is granted the power of the priesthood, in virtue of which they represent the person of Jesus Christ (In persona Christi) before their people, acting at the same time as representatives of their people before God…
Pope John Paul II (1980) : The priest offers the holy Sacrifice in persona Christi… Awareness of this reality throws a certain light on the character and significance of the priest celebrant who, by confecting the holy Sacrifice and acting “in persona Christi,” is sacramentally (and ineffably) brought into that most profound sacredness, and made part of it, spiritually linking with it in turn all those participating in the Eucharistic assembly.