Thursday, October 28, 1999
First Reading: Ephesians 2: 19-22
Psalms: Psalm 19: 2-5
Gospel Reading: Luke 6: 12-16
FEAST OF SAINT SIMON, APOSTLE
This apostle, Saint Simon the Zealot, shares the feast with Saint Jude Thaddeus because it is believed both were sent to Persia where they were martyred for the faith in the first century. St. Simon was referred to as the Cananean in Matthew 10: 4 and Mark 3: 18 and called the Zealot because of his great zeal in upholding the Jewish Law. (cf. Luke 6: 15 and Acts 1: 13) Cananean means "Zelotes" in Greek and therefore gives credence to this concept. It was also necessary to give him a title to distinguish him from Saint Simon Peter who Jesus constantly addressed as Simon in Sacred Scripture. After the Council of Jerusalem after Jesus' Ascension, Simon went to Egypt where he preached the Gospel there and then on to Carthage, up into Spain where James had been and even into Britain. Sailing back through the Mediterranean he returned to Jerusalem where he joined Jude on missionary journeys east to Syria, Mesopotamia and into Persia which is today Iran. Historians report that he was sawed in half and left to the beasts to devour. He is often depicted in art holding the instrument of his martyrdom. Again the eastern church differs in the account of this apostle, where his feast is celebrated on May 10, maintaining he died peacefully at Edessa on October 28, but because of the nature of his mission and the people he was ministering to, it is highly unlikely he escaped the crown of martyrdom. This fact was confirmed by Church scholar and historian Saint Fortunatus, bishop of Poitier in the 6th Century.
October 28: FEAST OF SAINT JUDE, APOSTLE
The saint known as the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases, Saint Jude Thaddeus was a cousin of Jesus since he was the nephew of the Blessed Mother and her chaste spouse St. Joseph. Jude was also the brother of Saint James the Less, a fellow apostle as pointed out in Luke 6: 16 and Acts 1: 13. In Matthew 13: 55 and Mark 6: 3 Jude is called only Thaddeus. Yet they are both the same man. In fact, most likely Jude was a boyhood companion of Jesus for his and James' father was Cleophas who died a martyr and whose wife was Mary of Cleophas who stood at the foot of the cross (cf. Matthew 27: 56 and Mark 15: 40). Both Jude and James left everything behind to follow Jesus, so taken were they with their childhood Friend Who had planted the seeds of a lasting vocation to follow Him. After the Council of Jerusalem, he left for Edessa where tradition tells that he healed the king of Edessa of leprosy by holding up a shield of Christ and proclaiming the Name of Jesus over the pagan ruler. Jude was instilled with special gifts of the Holy Spirit including ordering the demons to leave the pagan idols in many of the temples he visited. Once they were gone, the idol images toppled to the ground, smashing in pieces. It was a sign to all that Jude's God was the One True God. It is believed Jude returned to Jerusalem and then returned to Syria with Saint Simon. While it is believed Simon died in the city of Suanis, Persia, some believe Jude suffered martyrdom in Beirut which is today Lebanon. Jude wrote His Epistle warning Christian converts of the dangers of heresy and immorality some time between 62 and 67 AD after the death of his blood brother St. James who had been the Bishop of Jerusalem and before the death of Saint Peter for Peter referred to Jude's Epistle in his own Second Epistle (cf. 2 Peter 2: 6, 10-18; 3: 2-3). Some accounts relate Jude was crucified on the cross as an example to all, but most hold to the tradition that he was clubbed to death and beheaded. He is often depicted holding the face of Jesus and a club, the instrument of his martyrdom. In some illustrations, a flame protrudes from his forehead representing the power of the Holy Spirit.