Oct 28 – Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles
Simon was an apostle called the Cananean, or Zealot, because of his zeal for the Jewish law. He was not from Cana, nor a member of the Zealot party. Like all the Apostles, he was a convert, and was trained by St. Peter the Apostle. He evangelised in Egypt and Mesopotamia, though there are traditions of him being in several other locations. Several places claim to have been the site of his martyrdom – Abyssinians claim he was crucified in Samaria; Lipsius says he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia; Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Iberia.
– Patron Saint Index
Jude Thaddeus was the son of Cleopas who died a martyr, and Mary who stood at the foot of the Cross and who anointed Christ’s body after death. He was the brother of St. James the Lesser, and nephew of Mary and Joseph. He was the blood relative of Jesus Christ, and reported to look a lot like him. He may have been a fisherman, and was an apostle.
He was the writer of a canonical letter. He preached in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia with St. Simon. He was a healer and an exorcist, and could exorcise pagan idols, which caused the demons to flee and the statues to crumble. He was beaten to death with a club, then beheaded post-mortem in 1st century Persia.
His patronage of lost or impossible causes traditionally derives from confusion by many early Christians between Jude and Judas; not understanding the difference between the names, they never prayed for Jude’s help, and devotion to him became something of a lost cause.
– Patron Saint Index
You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.
Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’: Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
You are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household
Today’s readings remind us that as Christians, we are part of God’s family. Fundamental to Christianity is living out our identity as children of God, and spreading the Good News to others who may not yet know Him.
Despite being a Catholic all my life, I usually shy away from talking about my faith. Whether a function of my introvertedness, out of fear of being labelled ‘holy-moly’, or a lack of familiarity with the Gospel, I have been leading my life as an undercover Christian, reasoning that actions speak louder than words. What use is active service in multiple ministries if it leads to angst and resentment? If I could point people to Christ by doing good and living a moral life, wouldn’t this, in itself, be pleasing to God?
Not much is written about St Simon and St Jude, the saints whose feast we are celebrating today. What we know is that they were called to be apostles of Jesus, preached the faith in Mesopotamia and Persia, and were eventually martyred. As ordinary men, I imagine they would have been daunted by the enormity of their mission. Yet, because they trusted Jesus, they were open to the graces of the Holy Spirit to guide them in their mission of preaching the Good News.
Even in our imperfect selves, we are called to evangelise and bear witness to the faith in today’s increasingly secular world. As for me, I am taking baby steps to grow my prayer life and improve my knowledge of the bible (slowly). I need to remind myself to behave in a fashion that is consistent with the teachings of Christ. Brothers and sisters, we will stumble and face opposition but as long as we trust and stay the course, He will use our lives for His mission.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Seet)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that, through the intercession of Sts Simon and Jude, we may be faithful witnesses to Your word, trusting that You will send the graces we need to fulfil our mission.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for the saints and prophets who form the foundations of the Church. Keep us close to You and so that we may, one day, join the saints in your heavenly household.