Did you ever wonder why we celebrate the feasts of the apostles?
The great characteristic of our Catholic faith is that we are 'one.' That is, we are bound together by a common bond, faith in Jesus as Lord. This is reflected in one communion and is seen by the fact that wherever we are in the world, Mass is always the same; all over the world today Catholics celebrate this one feast.
While communion is the great spiritual sign of this unity, the pope is the great physical sign on earth of that unity. He is the successor of Peter, the head of the apostles.
We remember the apostles because they were the twelve pillars upon which Christ built his church. They were unified in their belief and recognized Peter as head; they spread the good news exactly as Jesus told them to and they brought Jesus in the Eucharist right into the midst of the community.
We are one church. We trace our roots back to Jesus through the apostles and from the apostles we get the structure of the church. These men were set apart while Jesus was on earth for a particular job; they carried it out well and at great expense. James was the first of the apostles to be killed, being martyred in AD62.
Our apostles are still being killed today.Where? Think of archbishop Romero in central America, killed while saying Mass thirty three years ago.
Humanity always has an element that hates justice; the apostles confront this by bearing witness to the love of God.