Scripture: Lectionary 666.: Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude.
Ephesians 2:19-22. Psalm 19:2-3.4-5. Luke 6:12-16
Simon and Jude come at the end of the listing of the apostles in the
Synoptic Gospels. John does not have such a listing and does not give us 12
distinct names for the apostles as do the Synoptics. The last four named
have very little mention outside of their listing in Matthew, Mark, and
Luke. The names of Simon and Jude have other names connected to them
especially Thaddeus sometimes given for Simon and others for Jude! Libbeus
is also given to Jude. John mentions Judas as distinct from the betrayer.
He means the Apostle Jude. After the New Testament the non-canonical
gospels appeared and almost each apostle has a Gospel named after him even
Judas Iscariot, the betrayer! The apocryphal gospels of the apostles add
nothing to the historical critical objectivity of the canonical gospels and
it is best to regard them as legends and stories about the apostles.
Pseudonymity or naming them with authoritative names is one of the
characteristics of this later Christian story telling about the apostles.
A feast of the apostles is a great occasion for us to recognize our own
apostolic call as Jesus voice in today’s society. The founder of the
Marianists, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade who was beatified in 2000,
liked to be called “missionary apostolic”, a title that focused on his
mission of bringing Jesus to others especially through Mary the first and
foremost faithful disciple of the Lord. We, too, are apostles who are sent
to proclaim and witness to the Gospel and to the Person of Jesus. The word
in Greek for apostle comes from the verb “apostelein” which means to be
sent. We all possess in our ministries the call of Blessed Chaminade to be
missionaries who are apostolic. Lay, religious, married, single, priests
and brothers are all called to be missionaries apostolic. Chaminade
declared, “You all are missionaries.”
Like the listing of the original twelve we have unique names and the
chronological distance we have from the apostles of the past does not dim
our call to be an apostle even though we are the ones lately called. We all
are apostles if we believe in Jesus and witness to him.
It would be worth our while to look at the references to Simon and Jude in
the Gospels and to meditate on what we discover about them through our
prayer. We read within the context of where their names are found (Matthew
10:4; 13:15; Mark 3:18; 6:3; Luke 6:15-16; Acts 1:13 and John 14:22).
In the light of our first reading from Ephesians and from the perspective
of liturgical and pastoral theology we discover that we are assured we have
our foundation on the original apostles called by Jesus after he had
prayed. We take hope and inspiration from this excerpt from Ephesians to do
and to teach as Jesus did. And if we want to go deeper into what it means
to be an apostle we need only to turn the pages of Paul’s letters and keep
on turning and reading them. We will find what the interior life of an
apostle is, namely to be “other Christs” or as Paul put it so well, “For me
to live is Christ!” (Phillipians 1:21). Amen.