Reading 1: EPH 2:19-22
Responsorial Psalm: PS 19:2-3, 4-5
Gospel: LK 6:12-16
Liturgical colour: Red.
Today dear brothers and sisters, we come together to celebrate the feast of Sts Simon and Jude, They are two of the Apostles. Simon is also known as Simon the Zealot, who belonged to the group of the Zealots, who were a very puritanical and extremist group opposed to the Roman rule in Judea at the time of Jesus, he was a type of freedom fighter, who was turned from his former path with the Zealots, and instead joined Jesus and became His follower. St. Jude was also known as Judas Thaddeus, who is a different person from Judas Iscariot the traitor. St. Jude is particularly widely known for being the patron saint of hopeless cases.
St. Jude unlike St Judas with which his name is sometimes confused, remained faithful to the Lord, and he continued to preach the Good News together with St. Simon, with whom he was often closely associated, and this is the reason why we celebrate their feast days together.
Both St. Simon and St. Jude travelled together, they preached, spreading the faith in the region of Judea, Syria, and also in Egypt and Libya, as well as to many other regions where they preached the Good News of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, the hope of salvation for all the people living in those places who have yet to witness the light of Christ. And through their hard work and ministry, they planted the seeds of the Faith and the Church, which would eventually grow and bring many souls to salvation in God.
Both Sts Simon and Jude went through many trials and difficulties in their lives. They were met with acceptance and also with rejection, by the people and from the communities to whom they were sent. Yet they both persevered, and like St. Paul the Apostle, they never gave up in the face of their difficulties, and through their good and hard work, they gained many souls to the mercy of God, and brought them towards salvation. Indeed, these two, among the other ten Apostles, were the crucial and important pillars of Faith and salvation.
It was told that Simon and Jude were both martyred in the region of Syria during a persecution of the Faithful, and were beheaded with an axe, a symbol often associated to them. But even in death, they continued to bring goodness and good works and wonders to the faithful, even in death they managed to continue to lay down the seeds of faith to the newly faithful, spreading the Good News ever further and greater to the ends of the earth.
And we know that St. Jude was particularly famous because he is the patron saint of the cases of hopelessness and where hope is dim. People ask for his intercession to help in those cases that seem to be impossible and where the outcome is likely to be unfavourable. However, my dear brothers and sisters, we have to be careful lest we think that they are like gods or those who can fulfill our wishes and needs at our whim.
These Apostles, St. Jude and St. Simon, as well as the other Apostles are the twelve central pillars of the faith, and besides the Lord’s own Blessed Mother Mary, they stand the closest to the throne of God, their Lord and Master. They were men once, but they have been tested through fire and through many trials, they faced all the difficulties and the challenges of the world, suffering even martyrdom for the sake of the Lord.
Sts Simon and Jude therefore are role models whose examples we can use within our lives, they show us a reflection of what we can also achieve if we are to follow in their paths and walk in their footsteps. They represent the fulfillment of God’s promise. Remember that Jesus said to them at one time, how they would sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel? This is the same promise which God has also given to each and every one of us. We will all sit among the righteous and the just, but only if we remain faithful to the Lord, resisting all temptations of life and of the flesh.
The Apostles as well as the many Disciples, were once also diverse in their occupations just as we are, and they were people of the world, and yet they chose to follow God and become His loyal servants, to be the ones to help Him to accomplish much good work in this world. They did have the choice to follow the Lord or to follow their own hearts’ desire as indeed we all do, but chose the only path to righteousness and salvation, that only accepting and following our Lord Jesus can give.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to reflect on our own lives and actions. We are all sinners and unworthy of the Lord’s love and mercy. And yet, He offered them to us freely and tenderly nonetheless, giving them through the ultimate act of love, His suffering and death on the cross. We have the choice to continue in our ways of sin, following the wicked paths of the world, or to embrace the mercy and love offered by God.
The Apostles, and especially the ones we celebrate today, St. Simon and St. Jude are good models in our life. They themselves were not perfect, and they also were sinners, and yet they were willing to allow the Lord to come into their lives and to transform them, that they would no longer live in sin but became the tools of the Lord in bringing good into this world, and in that, they were justified in their faith.
Let us therefore use this opportunity to begin to follow our Lord Jesus ever close within our lives and emulate the examples of His holy Apostles, St Simon and St. Jude whose joint feast we celebrate today. Let us all also become faithful disciples of our Lord, building ever stronger the foundations of our Church, the Church of God, for our salvation and for the salvation of all souls. Leave our old lives of sin and darkness and exchange it for the lives in the light of God. God bless us all. Amen.