Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together on this momentous day, the celebration of the Feast of Our Lord’s Holy Apostles, and not just one but two of the Twelve Apostles, namely St. Simon and St. Jude, Holy Apostles of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Both Apostles followed the Lord and dedicated their lives and works to God, and they became for us great role models, examples and inspirations to follow, in how we should live our own lives. God had called them from their respective lives and pasts, to be His servants, and to do His will. Today as we rejoice in their memory and glory, let us all discern all that they had done for the greater glory of God.
St. Simon the Apostle, also known sometimes as St. Simon the Zealot, as the name suggests, was a member of the Zealots, which was back then a highly nationalistic group of people who were determined to liberate the Jewish people in the region of Judea and Galilee from the domination and rule by the Romans or any other foreign oppressors, and to establish once again the independent rule over the people of God, in the form of the Kingdom of Israel. St. Simon was probably one of these Zealots, who then left to follow the Lord. Another tradition stated that the name of St. Simon meant more of being ‘zealous’ rather than him being a member of the Zealots. Regardless, he chose to follow the Lord and to do His will from the moment that the Lord called him.
Meanwhile, St. Jude the Apostle was also commonly known as St. Jude Thaddeus or St. Judas Thaddeus. He was often confused with Judas Iscariot, the traitor, as well as Jude, the brother of James, who was one of relatives or brothers of the Lord Jesus, as well as the writer of the Epistle of Jude, which might or might not have been written by St. Jude the Apostle himself. The association of St. Jude and his name of ‘Thaddeus’ itself was not conclusive, and biblical scholars sometimes considered them to be two separate people. Again, regardless of their origins, both St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles of the Lord, followed the Lord and faithfully embarked on the missions entrusted to them.
St. Simon and St. Jude both went on their missions after having received the commissioning and the commandment from the Lord, to go forth to all the nations and all the peoples, proclaiming the Good News and the salvation of God to them, and to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. Simon and St. Jude both dedicated themselves to their ministries, as tradition stated how St. Simon the Apostle went to evangelise in the regions of Egypt, Persia, Armenia and Lebanon among other places like Ethiopia. It was often mentioned that St. Simon and St. Jude worked together as an evangelising team, and hence the reason why their feasts are celebrated together this day.
Meanwhile, St. Jude the Apostle himself preached the Gospels and the Good News of God in many places, including that of Judea and Samaria, near Jerusalem, and also the faraway places such as Libya, Mesopotamia and Syria, and to other places together with the other Apostles and missionaries, like that of with St. Simon the Apostle. Both he and St. Bartholomew, another of the Twelve Apostles were credited as the first ones to bring the Christian faith to the region of Armenia, sowing the seeds of faith there long before that realm eventually becoming the first ever Christian nation in the world.
Both St. Simon and St. Jude encountered many challenges as well as opportunities and successes throughout their missions and works, as through their efforts, many came to know of the Lord and His truth, and many chose to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour. Just like that of the other Apostles, St. Simon and St. Jude laid the groundwork and firm foundations for the Church and the Christian faith. St. Simon and St. Jude nonetheless faced intense persecutions and challenges throughout their ministry and both were martyred for their faith. While traditions sometimes differed on the details of their martyrdom, what matters is that they remained true and faithful to God to the very end.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard and reflect upon the lives and the works of these two Holy Apostles of the Lord, let us all ponder upon what we ourselves as Christians have been called to do with our lives like that of the Apostles St. Simon and St. Jude. Both of them had dedicated themselves to the Lord, answered His call and committed themselves to do what they had been tasked and entrusted to do. And we have to realise that there are still a lot of things that the Apostles did which were still not yet completed. In fact, as time passes on, there are more and more opportunities and areas where we as Christians and the Church can contribute for the sake of many of the people out there still in need of God’s grace and love, His salvation and eternal life.
Let us all hence be inspired and strengthened by the courage and faith shown by St. Simon and St. Jude, and ask them both for their intercessions that through their prayers and guidance, we may always be strengthened by God and empowered to remain faithful and committed to the Lord at all times. May God be with us all His Church, His beloved people, and may each and every one of us be evangelising and faithful disciples of His, in the manner of the Holy Apostles, especially that of St. Simon and St. Jude. May God bless us all in our every good deeds and endeavours, now and always. Amen.