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October 28. Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

Mass Readings + homily notes for special feasts and memorials

Material already online at the Association of Catholic Priests website
(edited by Fr. Pat Rogers)

For full range of memorials
click here


 

1st Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22

God has appointed apostles so that his people's needs will be served

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

Before selecting his twelve apostles, Jesus spent a night in prayer on the mountainside

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 to uch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Bible


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 Canaanean) 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 nowhere else mentioned except on these lists. Some modern writers have used "Zealot" as the basis for conjectures linking him, and through him Jesus and his whole group, with the Zealot movement devoted to assassination and violent insurrection. But Josephus tells us (Jewish War 4,3,9) that the movement he describes did not arise until shortly before the destruction of the Temple in the year 70 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.

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!


Choosing the twelve

It is only Luke who tells us, as we read in today's gospel, that, before he chose the twelve, Jesus spent the whole night in prayer to God. This was a decision he prayed about; his choice of the twelve came out of his prayer. Indeed, Luke emphasizes that Jesus prayed before all the key moments of his life — just after his baptism, just before he set his face to go to Jerusalem, in the Garden of Gethsemane as he faced into his passion and death; on the cross just before his death. We will often find ourselves praying at important moments in our own lives too. At such moments, we recognize our need guidance and strength from above. Our prayer at such moments does not necessarily mean that everything will work out perfectly for us. Although Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before he chose twelve from among the disciples, one of those twelve, Judas, went on to betray him. Yet, we can be sure that our prayerful surrender to the Lord at such times will always create space for him to work, even when things do not work out as we had hoped.