Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. We celebrate these two ordinary men chosen by Jesus himself to teach others about God’s love and to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). In today’s Gospel reading we read about Jesus choosing the twelve apostles which included Simon and Jude. Simon was often called “the Zealot”, so as not to be confused with Simon Peter. By the same token, Jude is known as Jude Thaddeus so not to be confused with Judas Iscariot. Simon and Jude traveled together throughout Persia preaching and teaching about Jesus and led many people to become believers and be baptized. They died for their faith on the same day in Beirut.
We are told that Simon and Jude as well as the other apostles were ordinary people chosen by Jesus to spread the gospel message. I think it is important to remember that we are also ‘ordinary people’ called by Jesus to spread the good news. We are reminded in the reading from Ephesians that:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but fellow citizens with the holy ones
And members of the household of God.
This means we are all on the same playing field, so to speak, as the apostles called by Jesus in the gospel today. We are all ordinary people washed in the waters of baptism, loved by the same God who loves everyone unconditionally. We may not be called to suffer as the early apostles and followers of Christ did, but we have been chosen to live a life of service modeled on the life and death of Jesus Christ!
As members of the household of God, we are called to a holiness that can be challenging. We live in a society that oftentimes seems to be very un-Christlike where we can become easily frustrated and wonder if others will ever understand the gospel message that we are trying to live by and share. One of the exciting things that is happening in our Church presently is the Synod that is taking place in Rome. Pope Francis has invited several hundred women and men, ordained, religious and laity to take part in this synodal gathering. This is an opportunity for both hierarchy and laity to join hands and hearts as members of the one household of God to pray, dialogue and most especially to listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading us as Church today and into the future.
It is time for all of us who call ourselves Church to realize that we are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the holy ones, like Saint Simon and St Jude. It is time for us to be who we say we are and make the love and presence of Jesus Christ visible in our families, neighborhoods, communities and churches.
Saint Simon, the Zealot and Saint Jude Thaddeus, pray for us! Amen.
Theresa Secord is a retired Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.