The Apostles Simon and Jude Thaddeus have been honored with a common feast since before the time of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, a list of saints attributed to Saint Jerome that was composed in 6th century Gaul (modern-day France).
Simon, a native of Cana, who is most commonly known as “the Zealot,” is said to have preached the Gospel in Egypt. Aside from his being included in the lists of the apostles found in the New Testament, nothing more is known of his life.
|Saints Matthew, Jude Thaddeus, and Simon|
from "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci
Jude, the celebrated patron of “impossible cases,” is credited with having written the New Testament letter that bears his name. Sitting near the Lord at the Last Supper, he asked Jesus why he manifested himself only to the disciples, and not to the whole world. Jude’s question prompted Jesus to offer a reply that is as mysterious as it is profound: “If a man 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 14:22-23). Saint Jude is also celebrated for having preached the Gospel in Egypt and Mauritania. According to tradition, he was martyred in Persia with Saint Simon, who is said to have joined him in his labors. The supposed relics of these two Apostles are enshrined in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Because we do not know many details of the lives of Simon and Jude, we are left to reflect simply on what it means to be an apostle, sent by Christ into the world, just as Christ himself was sent by the Father: “Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by him just as he was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach they themselves should take to their ministry. From what he said, they would gather that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick in body and spirit, to seek in all their dealings never to do their own will but the will of Him who sent them, and, as far as possible, to save the world by their teaching” (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John 12, 1). The same mission of teaching, healing, and reconciling has been entrusted to each of us.
Prayer for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude +O God, who by the blessed Apostles
have brought us to acknowledge your name,
through the intercession of Saints Simon and Jude,
that the Church may constantly grow
by increase of the peoples who believe in you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
-This reflection has ben adapted from my book, From Season to Season: A Book of Saintly Wisdom.