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+ Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles +
28 October, New TestamentA Prefatory Note: While the Lutheran calendar allows us to translate the celebration of the Reformation to the Sunday preceding the festival, I see no good reason to avoid using today's propers for the feast of these saints. The assigned Scriptures provide powerful readings and outstanding sermonic resources. Heard together and connected by the sermon, the four passages display St. Paul's characterization of God's Word: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)"
I have one big caution, however: Pastors who think that they're being ignored or in some way mistreated or threatened by their congregations should be careful with the Jeremiah text. If you preach it to your flock — especially if you need to preach it to your flock — do so with firm resolve but also with overflowing love.
On the various New Testament lists of the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:2-4
; Mark 3:16-19
; Luke 6:14-16
; Acts 1:13
), the tenth and eleventh places are occupied by Simon the Zealot (or Simon the "Cananean," which is the Aramaic word meaning "Zealot") and by Judas of James, also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus.
Simon is not mentioned by name in the New Testament except on these lists. If he was of the Jewish religio-political organization known as the Zealots, he would have been part of an effort to overthrow Roman rule. However, the title might only be descriptive of his personality.
Judas (often called Jude in English) is variously named, but this is not surprising. Before the Crucifixion, there would be a need to distinguish him among the apostles from Judas Iscariot, and after the Crucifixion there would be an additional reason for being emphatic about the distinction.
After the Last Supper it was Jude who asked Our Lord why he chose to reveal Himself only to the disciples. He received the reply: "If anyone 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. (see John 14:22-31
As misguided Christians began to invoke the saints, the apostles became particularly popular targets for their petitions. Since little was known about Jude and because his name was forever tied to the betrayer, people wouldn't pray to him until they'd exhausted all other resources. This led to his being titled the "Saint of Last Resort," since he was the last saint remaining.
Jude enjoys several patronages, the most notable being lost or desperate causes. Perhaps being the last resort played into this, but more likely the association came because of the encouragement in the Epistle of Jude
to remain faithful no matter how harsh the circumstances.
Jude's invocation during desperate situations drew special attention from the sick and injured, especially those "hopeless" who saw no improvement or were close to death. As medicine advance and seriously ill people gathered together for treatment, it was natural to grant patronage of hospitals and hospital workers to the apostle.
The most noted connection in this area is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
. Founder Danny Thomas
wanted no child to die at the dawn of life. Recognizing the desperation of families when the children faced critical, life-threatening situations, he also wanted to remind them that as long as life remains and as long as prayers are prayed, we should never give up hope.LectionPsalm 43Jeremiah 26:1-161 Peter 1:3-9John 15:12-21Collect
Almighty God, You chose Your servants Simon and Jude to be numbered among the glorious company of the apostles. As they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make know the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
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