Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, apostles
The letter to the Ephesians, Paul’s beautiful letter about the church, speaks of unity and of our being one body, one church. In today’s reading from Ephesians, we hear a wondrous description of the Church. We are told that we are fellow citizens with the prophets and holy ones, that the structure of the Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles, and that Jesus is our capstone holding us together to become a dwelling place of God in the Spirit! This is a day then to reflect a bit on the strength and durability of our Church. In a world where political systems, governments, institutions and even families seem to change and disappear before our very eyes, Christianity lives and continues and thrives. We may become exasperated with local parish concerns, and we may not always agree with decisions made by the hierarchy, but we should hold close this Church, this great gift from Jesus and his Apostles.
In the Gospel, Jesus gives us another gift – the example of prayer. Before he chooses his Apostles, he goes up to the mountain to pray. So often we see Jesus praying in the Gospels. Do we follow the example? Do we as individuals, as families, as Church take the time to "go up to the mountain" to pray before we make decisions. This is often a challenge for me. I frequently find myself in a hurry to get things done – and so rush to make decisions – and all too often too busy to remember to invite God to the table.
Today is also the Feast of St. Simon, the Zealot, and St. Jude, often referred to as the patron of hopeless causes. We don’t know much about Simon and Jude. We do know that they were simple, ordinary men who heard the call and answered it. Simon’s zeal, and both Simon and Jude’s belief in Jesus and their faith, their hope and their love caused them to be martyred. We honor them and we ask their intercession but let’s also pray in gratitude for their lives and for the gift of Church that they and the other Apostles passed on to us.
And let’s remember that we, like Simon and Jude and the other Apostles, are called to spread the Gospel and the love of God!
Mary Lou Butler is a former staff member and a longtime partner of the Passionists in California.