Blessed Catholic Saints and Angels

~~Witnesses of Faith pray for us ! ~~

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blessed Feast of Saint Jude Thaddeus and Saint Simon the Zealot

God, we thank you for the glorious company of the Apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Simon and Saint Jude were apostles, which means they were followers of Christ. After Christ's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, the apostles travelled all over the world, bringing the word of Christ to the people. This is what Christ asked them to do, and he gave them instructions on how they were to travel and what they were to teach. These two apostles probably did not travel together. Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Syria, and Mesopotamia. When he was quite old, in 62 AD, he returned to Jerusalem to help with the selection of a bishop for Jerusalem. It is interesting to realise that in just 62 years, or maybe even less, the Church that Jesus Christ began by giving his life, and that the Apostles build and spread with their lives, had grown so large that it needed bishops to help the priests and deacons look after and teach the people.

Saint Jude Thaddeus the Apostle

Saint Jude was the brother of Saint James the Less and Saint Simeon. There were several brothers and cousins among the Apostles - after all, if you had found the Messiah, who would you tell first, your own family or a stranger on the street? Andrew and Simon Peter were brothers, Saint James the Greater and Saint John the Evangelist were brothers, and Saint Jude, Saint James the Less (called that because he was shorter, not less important) and Saint Simeon were brothers.
After the Last Supper it was Jude who asked Our Lord why he chose to reveal Himself only to the disciples. He received the reply: "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:22)
Saint Jude Thaddeus wrote one Bible Epistle and is a passionate appeal to preserve the purity of the Christian faith and the good reputation of Christian people. The writer tells the readers that he planned to write a different letter, but hearing of the misleading views put out by some false teachers in the Christian community, he is urgently writing to warn the church not to heed them. It includes a memorable exhortation to "contend for the faith once delivered to the saints," and an even more memorable closing:
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God, or Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
Blessed Saint Jude is often, in popular usage, referred to as the patron of desperate causes, the "saint of last resort," the one you ask for help when all else fails. There may be several reasons for this. First, since his name is remiscent of Judas Iscariot, there is a tendency for someone asking a Christian brother now with the Lord for intercessory prayers to try one of the other apostles first. Hence, Jude has come to be called "the saint of last resort," the one whom you ask only when desperate.
Another possible reason is that that Jude travelled long distances and was often far removed from his brother Apostles. In the early days of the Church, when most of the members will still alive, it was common to join in prayer. In fact to ask 'for prayers' is to ask for the other to join you in prayer. Since Jude was often absent, he would not have been asked 'for prayers' often, and hence was approached as a last resort.
Of course, it is also possible that Jude had a reputation for managing difficult or seemingly impossible feats, either of strength, procurement, conversion or spirituality. As such a 'wonder-worker' he would be the logical choice to approach, even after death, with a seemingly insoluble problem
When Saint Simeon, Saint Jude's brother was elected Bishop of Jerusalem, Saint Jude went back to travelling and teaching. He was martyred in Armenia. a country which did not completely convert to Christianity for another 250 years.

Saint Simon the Zealot

Saint Simon was called 'the Zealot' to keep his name different from Saint Peter (whose name was really Simon, Jesus called him 'Peter' which means 'rock') and from Saint Simeon, the brother of Saint James the Less. The name 'Zealot' means someone who is very energetic and dedicated to a cause.
Simon was (see Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18) born in Cana, the site of Jesus' first public miracle. Some tradition accounts say that he was the bridegroom recipient of the miracle. The miracle at Cana of turning water into wine, is significant for two reasons. First, it was Jesus' first public miracle, done out of compassion for the newly weds, but also, secondly done in obedience to the request of His blessed mother. It may have been this miracle that prompted Simon to follow Jesus.
The Gospel of Luke tells us that Simon was a 'Zealot' (Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13), which either means that he was a member of a party of Jewish patriots of the time, or refers to the fervor with which he pursued Jewish law before his calling by Jesus. Modern scholars say the Simon was more likely to have been a Galilean and that "the Cananaean" and "the Zealot" both mean "the zealous."
Saint Simon loved Jesus and His teachings and was very determined to spread the Good News of Christ's teachings. He travelled to Persia and was martyred there.

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