Feast of Ss Simon and Jude
Today the Church celebrates the feast of Ss. Simon and Jude whose names occur together in the Canon of the Mass and are also celebrated on the same day. Possibly this is because they both preached the Gospel in Mesopotamia and Persia where it is said they had both been sent, but in actual fact we know nothing for certain about them beyond what is told us of their being called as Apostles in the New Testament. St. Jude is the author of a short Epistle which forms part of the New Testament.
In his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talks to us about faith. One of the first points he makes about faith is that the story of Jesus is passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation starting with the apostles.
This passing on is a memory of Jesus, a collective understanding by us all in society about how Jesus works in our lives. In the Office of Readings today St Cyril of Alexandria says of the apostles:
“What great pains the holy apostles took to do these tasks as carefully as possible.”
That is the task of the person passing on the word of God. It is our task too when we speak of the faith to our children and our friends, to our neighbours and work colleagues.
The memory of the past, the memory of Jesus is coupled with a memory of the future, the heavenly future promised to us. It is the proclaiming of this eternal life that we should be thankful to the apostles for. They told us both of a Jesus past and a Jesus who is to come.
As Christians, our lives are balanced between these two ideas of Jesus. Pope Francis, following the tradition of Simon and Jude, is endeavouring to make Jesus real and present in the world.
Let’s hope he wins many hearts!