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The Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles


“The group of the Twelve is the prefiguration of the church, where there must be room for all charisms, peoples and races, all human qualities that find their composition and unity in communion with Jesus.” ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

In a prayer book that I bring with me to Daily Mass which I’ve owned for a number of years, there is an intercessory prayer to Saint Jude that I pray quite often which goes like this:

“O holy Saint Jude, great in grace, rich in miracles, faithful intercessor of all who invoke your patronage in time of need, I come to you, seeking your special aid before the throne of Almighty God. Help me in my present and urgent petition. In gratitude, I promise to make your name known, so that others can invoke your heavenly assistance, to the glory of God and for the good of souls.” ~ Amen

Today on this Feast Day of Saint Simon and Saint Jude the Apostles, I’m given the chance to make good on my promise to Saint Jude to “make his name known.”

It is believed that both Saint Simon and Saint Jude were martyred on the same day, which explains at least in part why they would share the same Feast Day. Whenever they are mentioned in the Gospels, which isn’t very often, they are always mentioned together. This too may play a role in their shared commemoration. In fact there is but one sentence attributed to the two of them in the Gospel, spoken by Saint Jude at the Last Supper. Jude asks Jesus “Lord, what has happened, that you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replies:

“Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him. Anyone who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not my own: it is the word of the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.” (John 14:23-26)

Captured within these beautiful words, Jesus’ response to Jude’s query, is in fact the Good News of the Gospel. This would be the teaching that Jude, Simon and the other Apostles would go forth and bring into the world. Paul too of course, who although not one of the Twelve was dubbed the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” In fact this seminal moment at the Last Supper is the perfect lead-in to the message that Paul shares in today’s 1st Reading, taken from his Letter to the Ephesians (2:19-22): “You are no longer strangers and sojourners,” Paul tells them, “but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.”

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In his book The Apostles, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI observes that despite any imaginable differences between these men who came from all walks of life, they all lived side-by-side, overcoming differences and difficulties. “Indeed,” he goes in to conclude, “what bound them together was Jesus himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another. This is clearly a lesson for us who are often inclined to accentuate differences and even contrasts, forgetting that in Jesus Christ we are given the strength to get the better of our continual conflicts.” These words virtually mirror Saint Paul’s in the closing words of today’s passage from Ephesians as he says “Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in himyou also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

The name Simon occurs tenth in the list of the Twelve Apostles in Luke’s Gospel, the Passage chosen for today’s Feast Day Mass (Luke 6:12-16). It appears eleventh in Mark and Matthew’s Gospel however. Luke refers to Simon as a Zealot whereas Mark and Matthew instead choose to hone in on his place of birth, Cana, describing him as a Cananaean. Zeal for their friend Jesus, the Word made Flesh, this too is what binds Saints Simon and Jude together, aside from their common Feast Day as well as the previously aforementioned connectors. A divinely inspired zealous abandonment of self embraced by them and their fellow Apostles.

Let us pray that Saint Simon, Saint Jude and all their fellow brother Apostles will help us to vibrantly live the beauty of the Christian faith ever anew, and to live it without tiring, knowing how to bear a strong and at the same time peaceful witness to Jesus, the capstone.

Saint Simon and Saint Jude, pray for us…

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