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St Simon and St Jude (Thaddeus)
Apostles (entered heaven in the first centuries)
Today’s Feast has always been one of my favorites. It shows so clearly the difference between the petty squabbles of this world and the vast, wonderful adventure of heaven. Ah me! It is so easy to forget that we were made for heaven! Here in this lonely cubicle, isolated from all human contact, perhaps it’s easier for me to turn my heart to our true homeland. You, on the other hand, there on that gorgeous college campus, with thousands of young students and scores of dynamic professors stimulating your mind and your spirit and promising non-stop excitement… For you it must be hard indeed to remember that all the glamour and gilt of this passing world is destined for the eternal dust heap. We are just passing through, my dear niece, and we best not forget it. And today’s saints can do so much to help remind us.
These two men were members of Christ’s hand-picked, elite corps (the Twelve Apostles), and yet, we know almost nothing about them. Simon says not a single word in the Gospels, and Jude has just one line (though a letter of his does appear later in the New Testament). There is no reliable history of their apostolic adventures after Pentecost, though it is generally believed they ended up spreading the gospel together in Persia, where they were martyred. They seemed to have nothing to show for their fidelity to God – at least, as regards earthly accomplishment. And yet, they are pillars of the Church, and they sit enthroned in heaven and will judge the Twelve Tribes when the final hour comes.
It gives me hope to contemplate their example. In this world they had only hardship and labor, and yet, they achieved true glory, true happiness: the Eternal Crown. It is that Crown that I hold ever before the eyes of my soul, and it keeps me faithful in spite of confusion and sorrow. It will keep you faithful too, if you keep it in sight of your heart, because its beauty far surpasses the tinsel glimmers of the treasures and pleasures of this passing world – treasures and pleasures that have deceived so many poor lost souls.
Love, Uncle Eddy