Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of two great saints of God, who are two of the great Apostles, members of the Twelve Apostles, namely St. Simon and St. Jude, who refers to St. Simon the Zealot as well as St. Jude Thaddeus, the latter not to be confused with the traitor Judas Iscariot. Both of them followed the Lord throughout His ministry, dedicating themselves to His cause and in the end, shedding their blood and giving their lives to the glory of God.
St. Simon the Apostle was as mentioned, a zealot or a religious fanatic who was converted and called to follow the Lord Jesus. As a zealot, previously he was involved in the revolutionary efforts from the fanatical members of the Jewish community who were fighting against the oppressors of the Jewish state in Judea and Galilee, namely the Romans and their client rulers, the Herodians and their supporters. The zealots were known for carrying out attacks against the government establishments and for their guerrilla efforts.
And it was from the ranks of those zealots that the words of the Lord Jesus came to touch St. Simon, who was convinced to follow Him and to give himself to the cause of the Lord instead of the misguided efforts of the zealots. Initially, perhaps St. Simon also thought, like many other Jewish people and zealots did, that the Lord Jesus was the long awaited Messiah Who was expected to lead the Israelites, the people of God, against their enemies, and lead them to freedom, crushing the Romans and all their oppressors.
St. Simon however, remained firmly faithful and committed to the Lord, even after many of the other disciples left Him, and when the Lord was betrayed and made to suffer, persecuted and forced to bear His Cross, and finally died a most humiliating and painful death on that same Cross, this former zealot turned disciple of the Lord remained, and continued to serve Him, receiving the Holy Spirit together with the other Apostles and disciples, and went on to do His works, evangelising and travelling to many places to proclaim the truth of God.
Meanwhile, St. Jude Thaddeus, also known as St. Judas Thaddeus, sometimes associated with one of the relatives of the Lord, also known as Jude, was also one of the close followers of the Lord, who followed Him throughout His ministry, and then dedicated himself to the works and the missions entrusted to him by the Lord. And while, like St. Simon, little was known about St. Jude in the early days of his role as an Apostle and follower of Christ, what Church traditions and history held was that both of them went to faraway places, evangelising to the people who have not yet heard about the Lord and His salvation.
It was told that St. Simon and St. Jude often travelled together in their works of evangelisation and mission, preaching the word of God to the people of Persia, Armenia, and other areas like North Africa and Asia Minor. They worked hard to speak the truth of God to the people, many of whom were receptive and were willing to believe in God, and yet, there were also many others who refused to believe in the Lord and persecuted them and the other servants of God.
St. Simon was martyred together with St. Jude in the most well-preserved history of the Church, in which both Apostles were persecuted, tortured and finally put to death for their evangelising works among the pagans. In the end, regardless of their origins, they all embraced God’s calling and mission, and dedicated themselves to serve the Lord, following Him to where He led them, and gave themselves, even their own lives for the sake of the glory of God, and for the salvation of mankind.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect today on the lives and works of these two great Apostles, St. Simon and St. Jude, let us all discern carefully what we should do with our own lives, as those who profess the Christian faith and are therefore disciples and followers of Christ. Let us all consider carefully how we are to live our lives from now on, and reflect upon the examples of the Apostles to guide us and to help set us on the right path in life.
May the Lord protect us and guide us in our journey of faith through life, and may He empower all of us to follow in the footsteps of His glorious Apostles, especially St. Simon and St. Jude, whose memory we venerate today, and whose examples we want to emulate. May God be with us always and may He bless us in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.