28 October [Sts Simon and Jude, apostles]
Lk 6:12-16

Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Simon and Jude could be the patrons of all anonymous people.  Both of them have difficulty even in getting their names remembered!  Simon is chiefly known as “not Simon Peter”.  The gospel writers themselves call him by different names: Luke calls him “Simon the Zealot,” Matthew and Mark call him “Simon the Canaanite.”  Nothing more than that is recorded of him.  It is a slim CV.  His companion Jude is likewise almost anonymous.  There is difficulty about his name too: John calls him “Judas – not the Iscariot!” Luke calls him “Jude the brother of James,” Matthew calls him “Thaddeus.”  Nothing is said of him in any of the gospels except that he asked a question, “Lord, what is all this about?” (Jn 14:22).  The rest is silence.  A New Testament letter bears his name, but scholars think it extremely unlikely that he wrote it.

Their egos left no trace – like the flight of birds in the sky.  They are the patrons of the vast majority of all the Christians who have ever lived.  There is a lot to be said for silence and anonymity: they can give depth.  Without Simon and Jude the New Testament would be poorer; it would be all light and little shade.  We might not so easily see ourselves in it.



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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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