Thursday, 28 October 2021 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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.

Thursday, 28 October 2021 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose Twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there, and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.

Thursday, 28 October 2021 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Thursday, 28 October 2021 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now, you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house, whose foundations are the Apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus. In Him, the whole structure is joined together, and rises, to be a holy Temple, in the Lord.

In Him, you, too, are being built, to become the spiritual Sanctuary of God.

Friday, 28 October 2016 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate with great joy the feast of not just one, but two of the Lord’s very own Twelve Apostles, St. Simon and St. Jude. St. Simon the Apostle was once known as Simon the Zealot, likely from his former work and contributions to the Zealots, a community of people who led an active and passive resistance against the Romans. Meanwhile, St. Jude Thaddeus was a disciple often confused with Judas Iscariot, the traitor, and yet, he had done many wonderful deeds for the Lord and for His people.

In the Scripture readings today, we heard how God called His Apostles from among the people, chose them and charged them to assist Him in His works and missions to help the people of God, to whom Christ had laboured for in His earthly ministry in order to bring them towards salvation. He sent them to help Him in spreading the good works He has intended for His people, and to call them to repentance and to change their ways that they may be saved.

But it was not an easy task, and Jesus our Lord Himself reminded His disciples and Apostles in particular, that challenges facing them would be plenty. They would be tempted to abandon their efforts, just as what the Passion of our Lord showed us. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, who was none other than one among His Twelve Apostles, tempted by money, all the other Apostles and disciples abandoned Him and went into hiding, fearing repercussions from the enemies of their Lord.

And when the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests commenced persecution of all the faithful, spearheaded by Saul, the future St. Paul the Apostle, some among the faithful faltered in their faith and devotion to the Lord, and faced with the choice between suffering and staying faithful to their God, or to enjoy reprieve and safety in the world and abandoning their God, there were those who chose to do the latter.

These are the challenges facing us Christians, not only just during that time, when the Church was still growing and blooming in its early days, but also throughout the history of Christendom right up to now, to this very day, and also in the foreseeable future that we have and which we will experience. It is the challenge for us to remain faithful to the Lord despite the persecutions and challenges, ridicule and rejection that the world has inflicted upon us.

Are we up to the task? And do we indeed realise that as our Lord’s disciples and followers in this modern era and times, there are still a lot of things left to be done in this world? We are the successors of the works of the Apostles and the Church fathers, who had established the Church on the firm foundation of their faith and courageous devotion. We have to follow in their footsteps and be faithful in all of our ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it was told that St. Simon and St. Jude Thaddeus went to many different places, serving the people in various locations and relating to them the revelation of truth which came from God. Through their works and assistance, many had come to believe in God, and many more have repented from their sins and received the salvation from God.

They were not always welcomed, and there were those who were opposed to their works, both among their own people and among the pagan nations. But they never gave up, and through their persistence, the foundations of the Church in many places had been made strong and firm. They have led by example in their faith, encouraging many to remain strong in the faith.

And eventually, even though they met their ends in the faraway lands, St. Simon in Armenia or Persia, where he might have been crucified or sawn in half, and St. Jude Thaddeus in Syria, where it was told that he was beheaded with an axe, and some accounts had his martyrdom together with St. Simon, which was why their feast days are celebrated together.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we then follow the examples of these holy and venerable saints? Shall we follow in their footsteps as well? There are many things that we can learn from them, and perhaps we really should do so. We are called to continue the good works of the Apostles, and be courageous in spreading the message of the Good News of the Gospel, not worrying and fearing challenges that will come our way.

May the Lord help us in our endeavours and good works in serving Him, and may He ever bless us all always with abundant blessings, and bring us all ever closer to His everlasting love and mercy. Amen.

Friday, 28 October 2016 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.

Friday, 28 October 2016 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Friday, 28 October 2016 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Ephesians 2 : 19-22

Now you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people : you are of the household of God. You are the house whose foundations are the Apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus. In Him the whole structure is joined together and rises to be a Holy Temple in the Lord.

In Him you too are being built to become the spiritual sanctuary of God.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great feast of two of our Lord’s chief disciples, the Holy Apostles, namely St. Simon and St. Jude. St. Simon was also known as Simon the Zealot, while St. Jude here is different from Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would eventually betray Jesus and died in sin, but rather, St. Judas Thaddeus or St. Judas son of James.

On this day we heard about the role of the Apostles, whom God had called and chosen from among His people, so that they might be the extension of the works of His hands, as His chief deputies and representatives in this world. Through the disciples and the Apostles, Jesus continues His works on earth, even long after the end of His earthly existence, when He ascended in glory into the glorious Heaven.

The Apostles went forth in accordance with the mission that Jesus had given to all of them, and they went to the various places on earth, spreading further the Word of God and the salvation that Jesus Christ our Lord offers to all those who have faith in Him. They are truly the foundations of the Church, which Jesus our Lord had established on this world, based on Peter, the cornerstone, upon which He had established His Church.

God had built a strong foundation for His Church, and the Apostles are also like the pillars that strengthened the building and structure of the entire Church. For not only that they had evangelised and spread the words of the Gospel and the Good News, but they have established a solid and strong core of support structures for the Church, namely by providing many bishops and other servants of the Lord, that gave strength to the Church.

Through them, God made His will and works visible to all of the world, by providing the means through which many of the souls that still lie in darkness are able to listen to the word of God, and be saved as a result of the works of these faithful servants of our Lord. The Apostles were the catalysts of God’s work of salvation, in bringing mankind ever closer to God, and in their hard labours, they even laid down their lives and shed their blood for His sake, and for the sake of His Church.

Thus, the saying is true, that the blood of martyrs are the seeds of Christians. For all of the Apostles except for one were martyred and died in great and excruciating agony for their faith. Yet, they accepted their deaths willingly and openly as they knew that their reward in heaven is truly very, very rich, for God will not forget about all those who have given up everything for His sake.

St. Simon the Zealot himself is often associated with St. Jude the Apostle, and that is why their feast days are celebrated together as one on this day. St. Simon together with St. Jude went to many places, from Egypt and then to Persia and lands of the east, before returning to the region now known as Lebanon, where they were martyred for their faith.

They did not give up until the end, and even unto the end, unto their own deaths, they still strove hard to work for the benefit and for the good of the people to whom they had been sent to by the Lord. They opened the eyes of many, healed many of their afflictions, both body and soul, and ultimately, they saved countless souls from the gates of hell, and brought these instead to the gates of heavenly glory.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, what is it that we all must take note of so that whatever we have heard on this day will benefit us all? It is the attitude of the Apostles and their perseverance that we all can model from, and we all have to also realise that the works of the Apostles and disciples of Christ are truly far from over. In fact, their works are still ongoing now, just as Jesus commissioned them to deliver the Good News to all the nations.

Yes, we are all modern day Apostles and disciples of our Lord, as we have been tasked in a similar manner, to bring as many souls as possible, to the salvation present only in the Lord Jesus our Saviour, and to His light so that all mankind, every people may receive redemption and forgiveness from their sins, and be found righteous and just, that they will be worthy of eternal life.

Let us all realise this mission that we have, so that each and every one of us may realise our roles in the Church of God, as the bearers of God’s will and as His servants, to deliver God’s words to all, not just by mere words or proclamations only, but also through real and genuine action grounded firmly in faith and love for our Lord and for His laws.

Let us all commit ourselves anew to Him, and devote ourselves ever more to our Lord’s way, that we may bring one another to salvation, and we ourselves will grow ever richer in God’s grace. Do not despise those who are still living and darkness, and do not hate them for their wickedness, but instead, let us try to bring them closer to God, and help them in their path of repentance, so that like the Apostles of old, like St. Simon and St. Jude, we may also bring about God’s healing to all of them.

May Almighty God bless us all, forgive us all our sins, and may we all through the intercession of His holy saints and Apostles, be ever more devoted and committed children of our Lord and loving Father. Amen.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.