Liturgical Colour : Red
Today, brothers and sisters in Christ, we celebrate the feast of two of the Twelve Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, namely St. Simon, well known once as the Zealot, because he belonged to the faction of the Jews called the Zealots who were bitterly opposed to the Roman Empire dominance over Judea and the people of Israel. The other one is St. Jude, son of James, also often better known as St. Jude Thaddeus, to distinguish them from the traitor, Judas Iscariot.
They were among those who had given their all for the cause of Christ after they had witnessed Jesus and His ministry in this world, even unto giving up their own life in sacred martyrdom as they spread the Good News of salvation to the far ends of the world. St. Simon the Zealot went far and travelled to the ends of the known world at the time, spreading the word of God to people of many nations.
He was martyred in his mission, and met his death defending the faith he had in God, after a life of full dedication to the Lord, and after having saved many souls of nations and bring them back to God. St. Jude Thaddeus, whom we all know as a patron saint for hopeless and difficult cases, also went far and travelled around the regions, preaching the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
He converted many to the cause of the Lord, and bring the faith to faraway lands, including Armenia, Libya, and present day Iraq. He was martyred in area now known as Lebanon, together with St. Simon the Zealot I had mentioned earlier, and were beheaded together in the defense of their faith. Their deaths on the same occasion, is the reason why we celebrate their feasts together on the same day, that is this day.
The Apostles were called from among the many disciples of Christ, to be the closest confidants and followers of Christ, and to be the witnesses of the Lord’s grand plan for salvation, witnessing the rebirth of mankind from the darkness which had engulfed them for so long, into the light of God.
These were witnessed by the Apostles, as well as some of the disciples, in its entirety, save for Judas Iscariot, who faltered along the way and betrayed the Lord to His death. He is no longer counted among the Apostles, and indeed, perhaps even among those who are saved in Christ. The other Apostles too faced difficulties, and they too faltered especially when Christ was taken away from them by the chief priests and the Roman authorities.
Yet, the Holy Spirit came upon them and dwell deep in their hearts, and they were empowered and encouraged, to stand up and defend the faith they have received from God, and went on to be on the front lines, working, preaching, and spreading to all nations the Good News of salvation. Their mission, given to them by God is not an easy one, but they persevered and feared not any persecution nor opposition.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today, therefore, follow in the example of the Holy Apostles, especially that of St. Simon the Zealot and St. Jude Thaddeus, whose feasts we are celebrating today, proclaiming God’s glory and power to all the nations, without fear and with complete faith in the Lord our God. Let us strive for the Lord’s sake and for the sake of His people, our brethren, especially those who still live in the darkness of sin.
May the Lord strengthen us and our faith, empowering us with His love. God’s love be with us all. Amen.