JESUS’ CALL OF HIS DISCIPLES
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
My dear encountered couples:
The names Simon and Jude appear near the end of the list of those chosen by Christ to be his twelve apostles. Not a lot is known about either of them. But it is believed they teamed up together near the end of their lives to preach in Persia where they were both martyred.
You might be more familiar with Jude than with Simon. Jude is the saint many people pray to when they arrive at the proverbial last straw. In contrast to Judas Iscariot who lost his faith in Jesus and despaired when his situation looked hopeless, Jude kept his faith all the way to the end and is honored as the patron saint of hopeless cases. Have you ever prayed to St. Jude?
We might find ourselves at a dead end at times. Our efforts fail, our dreams dissolve. No matter what we do we just can’t seem to get it right. And our faith is tested. Is there anyone in heaven whose faith has not been tested? Really tested? Even Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” First comes disappointment, then discouragement, followed by a feeling of helplessness and the temptation to give up all hope. Never allow yourself to indulge in self-pity, at least not for long. The tide turns for all who trust in God, if not while we are in this world, most certainly after we have entered the next.
On this feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, the Gospel reading focuses on Jesus’ call of his disciples. Luke writes: “When morning came, he called his disciples to himself.” Jesus then chose from them the Twelve whom he named apostles: Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot.
In Luke’s Gospel it is clear that there also were other disciples with Jesus. I can’t help but wonder how the disciples who remain unnamed as disciples by Jesus reacted to this decision? Were they angry? Upset? Disappointed? Did they wonder if they were not holy or good enough to be chosen as one of the Twelve?
What about us? If we are Christian, Jesus has chosen us to be his disciples. Each one of us has been called to proclaim the Gospel though our words and our deeds. Today ask yourself: “What is the message I proclaim by my words, my actions and my choices? Am I proclaiming the message of Jesus? Am I sharing his message of love in everything I do and with every person I meet? Will these individuals recognize you and me as a follower of Jesus?” I pray they will!