Zeal for Souls and Impossible Causes: Sts. Simon and Jude

By Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC

On Oct. 28, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Sts. Simon and Jude, apostles of the Lord who zealously preached to the nations.

Saint Simon, not St. Simon Peter, was a zealot before meeting Christ. The zealots were Jews who had great zeal for honoring God and maintaining purity of religion, but in their zeal they would assassinate nobles, filling the temple with bloodshed and profanities. After meeting Christ and converting, St. Simon became zealous for Christ, in a good way. After Pentecost he went out and preached in Egypt.

Saint Jude Thaddaeus (Judas, not the Iscariot), the brother of the apostle St. James the Lesser, was a cousin of the Lord, nephew to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This can be drawn from the passage in Scripture from Matthew 13:55, "Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?" The word "brothers" in Greek is adelphoi, which also means "cousin" or "relative" because there is no word for cousin in Hebrew. After receiving the Holy Spirit, he went to preach in Mesopotamia.

Keep the faith pure
Saint Jude wrote an epistle, found in the New Testament. He wrote not to a particular person or audience, but rather to Christians as a whole, exhorting them to, "contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones." He warns against false teachings and encourages Christians to keep the faith pure.

On mercy, St. Jude writes:

"But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh" (1:17-23).

Journey of sanctification
We are the body of Christ, and we are called to help one another in this journey of sanctification. Saint Faustina took part in this mission which St. Jude exhorts all Christians to. She writes in her Diary: 

"During Holy Mass, I was so enveloped in the great interior fire of God's love and the desire to save souls that I do not know how to express it. I feel I am all aflame. I shall fight all evil with the weapon of mercy. I am being burned up by the desire to save souls. I traverse the world's length and breadth and venture as far as its ultimate limits and its wildest lands to save souls. I do this through prayer and sacrifice. I want every soul to glorify the mercy of God, for each one experiences the effects of that mercy on himself. The Saints in heaven worship the mercy of the Lord. I want to worship it even now, here on earth, and to spread devotion to it in the way that God demands of me" (745).

We, too, are called to prayer and sacrifice as a work of mercy towards our brothers and sisters, to "snatch them out of the fire."

Saints Simon and Jude zealously preached to the nations and met with each other again in Persia. According to ancient tradition, they were martyred together - St. Simon was sawed in half and St. Jude was beheaded with an axe.

Let us pray to Sts. Simon and Jude this day, that we may zealously preach the Good News to our brothers and sisters, especially through our prayer, sacrifice, and works of mercy.
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