Oct 28 – Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles
St. 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
St. 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 was 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
…he called them ‘apostles’…
The term ‘Apostle’ is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘one who is sent on a mission’. From the same dictionary, ‘Mission’ is also defined as ‘a specific task with which a person or a group is charged.’
When Jesus first called the Twelve, did they really imagine what kind of mission that they were going to be sent on? Did they think, “Hey, we are finally hanging out with this cool rabbi. Maybe we’ll make some new friends, see some sights, travel to new lands, perhaps get some free stuff along the way…” Little did they know what their mission would entail, that they would be heralds of a new way of life, a new way of loving and worshipping God.
We are all sent on a mission too, by virtue of our Baptism. We have been called to:
“Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” Matt 28:19-20
I remember during my Army days, once we knew that we were going on a mission, there would be a hive of activity, from planning to ensuring we have the right equipment, the right manpower and even rehearsals to ensure all of us knew what we were doing. Do we do the same preparations when embarking on our Christian mission?
The Lord did give basic instructions to the 72 disciples including:
“Take no purse with you, no haversack, no sandals.” Lk 10:4
I take it to mean that the Lord will provide what we need to go on this mission. He will ensure that we have the right people around us, the right opportunities, and the right words to say. I know this and yet I still worry. I often worry that I may not have the necessary skills or talent to do this.
We have often heard, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. For those among us that have experienced this, we know it’s true. For the prideful ones like myself, we need to swallow our pride, open our hearts, and let God do his work within us. We also need to ask our Blessed Mother, the angels and the saints to pray for us to be open to God’s promptings. For us to work with Him and build His kingdom and to spread His message of Love to everyone.
So, we know that the Lord will provide, but have we made inroads into this mission? Have we evangelized to our brothers and sisters, through our faith and by our actions? Have we shown that we are Christians by loving our neighbours as ourselves?
These are tough questions and questions I ask myself daily. Upon reflection, I often know that I have failed. Whether through my pride, my selfishness or vanity, I often feel that I have not lived out my mission. But instead of berating myself on what could have been, I remind myself that there are always opportunities to be an apostle. To put God in the centre of all I do and carry on with my mission — much like Sts Simon and Jude, who travelled and evangelized to the Persians. They must also have wondered how they were to preach the Gospel in those distant lands. But they, being apostles, were committed to the fact that they had been sent on their mission to spread the message of the Messiah, with whom they had lived with, in whom they had believed and for whom they gave their lives for.
Sts Simon and Jude, pray for us to have the courage and the conviction to be steadfast in our mission. Amen.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Calvin Wee)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask for your graces to be open to your will and your voice, to lead us in the individual missions that you have assigned us to. Grant that our hearts be always open to your Holy Spirit to lead us when our steps falter and to trust that You will always give us the strength to overcome whatever obstacles that may come along our way. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for our lives, our talents and our gifts. Thank you Lord, for always being merciful when we falter and also for giving us our mission to help build your Kingdom here on Earth. Amen.
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