28Oct 28 Oct, Monday, Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

Eph 2:19ff. God has appointed many forms of ministry so that his people’s needs will be served. The most vital of these ministries is that of “apostle,” sent to bring the Gospel

Lk 6:12ff. Before selecting his twelve apostles, Jesus spends all night in prayer on the mountainside. After selecting them, he “came down with them”, to deliver his “Sermon on the Plain”.

First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Gospel: Luke 6:12-19

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

 

Who were Simon and Jude?

On the various New Testament lists of the Twelve, the tenth and eleventh places are occupied by Simon the Zealot (also called Simon the “Cananean,” the Aramaic word meaning “Zealot”) and by Judas of James, also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. (“Judas” corresponds to the Hebrew name “Judah”. Some ancient Christian writers say that Simon and Jude went together as missionaries to Persia, and were martyred there. If this is true, it explains why they are usually put together.

Simon is not mentioned by name in the New Testament except on these lists. Some modern writers have used his surname as the basis for conjectures associating him, and through him Jesus and all His original followers, with the Zealot movement described by Josephus, a Jewish independence movement devoted to assassination and violent insurrection. However, there were many movements that were called Zealot, not all alike, and Josephus tells us (Jewish War 4,3,9) that the movement he is describing did not arise until shortly before the destruction of the Temple in seventy AD.

Judas (often called Jude in English) is variously named, but this is not surprising. Before the crucifixion, there would be a need to distinguish him among the apostles from Judas Iscariot, and after the crucifixion there would be an additional reason for being emphatic about the distinction.

After the Last Supper it was Jude who asked Our Lord why he chose to reveal Himself only to the disciples. He received the reply: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:22f) The New Testament Epistle of Jude was written by “Judas the brother of James,” which could refer to either Jude. In any case, we commemorate on this day (1) Simon the Zealot, one of the original Twelve; (2) Judas of James (also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus), also one of the original Twelve; and (3) Jude (or Judas) the brother of James and author of the Epistle, without settling the question of whether (2) and (3) are the same person.

The Epistle of Jude is a brief document addressed to the Church, and warns against corrupt influences that have crept in. It has some obscure and baffling references to old Jewish traditions, but it includes a memorable exhortation to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,” and an even more memorable closing: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God, or Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.”

In popular usage, St Jude is often prayed to as the patron of lost causes, the “saint of last resort,” the one you ask for help when all else fails.Maybe this is because his name reminds hearers of Judas Iscariot, so that people were inclined to try one of the other apostles first, making Jude  “the saint of last resort,” the one whom you ask only when nothing else seems to help!

 


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