Sts. Simon and Jude

28 October

Nothing is known for certain about Sts. Simon and Jude, except that they are mentioned as two of the twelve Apostles who Jesus called to accompany Him as He proclaimed that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Both of them were known by other names.

Simon was also called ‘the Zealot’, which means a person who is strongly committed to a cause. He was convinced how important it was for all people to follow the Jewish Law. But when he met Jesus, his zeal became focused on following Jesus and His teachings. Besides, the addition of the word Zealot to his name was also a means of identification from Simon Peter.

Jude also became known as Jude Thaddeus, a formal title, not to be confused with Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jude’s great faith stands as a conviction that everything is possible if it is God’s will. Christian tradition connects St. Jude to the legend of King Abgar and the painting of the Holy Face of Edessa. He is also mentioned in John’s Gospel, when he asked Jesus a poignant question during the Last Supper.
It is believed that after the Ascension of the Lord, Simon went to evangelize in Egypt, Jude to Mesopotamia. Then they met in Persia (today’s Iran) where they continued to evangelize. The fact that they were both eye witnesses to the teachings, miracles and Resurrection of Jesus and having been strengthened by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, people believed their testimony. Eventually the people accepted the Good News and were baptized. Tradition holds that both of them were martyred in Persia.

Simon and Jude were ordinary men, probably farmers or fishermen, but Jesus chose them ’to make disciples of all nations’. They are living examples that the most average person can become a saint when one decides to follow Jesus.

Simon the Zealot was so named for his zeal.
What is zeal? Very often it is used in a religious context but it also applies to enthusiasm, energy, eagerness to any other cause.
As parents and carers, we are directed by the zeal of wanting the best of everything for our children.

This zeal needs to be accompanied by prudence, so that we achieve a balance between offering support and guidance and being overzealous ourselves, by going to all efforts in “seeking super excellence” putting pressure to excel by confusing parental goals with those of the children, overlooking their talents that might point another way ~ by becoming overprotective “wrapping children in bubble wrap” moving obstacles in a way that will stifle their development in being brave to face challenges and learn from their mistakes.

The role of parents/carers is to direct, encourage the children’s zeal in a way that they discover their qualities and talents.

  • Let us acknowledge the activities they carry out successfully, giving them credit for their zeal and listening to them when they express their feelings of elation.
  • Let us offer them words of encouragement and positive talk when their zeal starts to wane or when they face disappointments that might dampen their enthusiasm.
  • In our striving to direct our children’s zeal for achievement in self-fulfilment, let us not bypass the beauty of instilling in them the zeal to befriend Jesus. Let us present the practice of attending Mass, receiving the Sacraments and prayer as “fuel’ to kindle our love and friendship with the Lord and not simply to fulfil a duty.

Sts. Simon and Jude disappear from the Gospels after being mentioned among the Chosen Twelve. They did not “shine in the limelight”, they fulfilled their role faithfully as foundation stones of our Faith, irrespective where they stood.
– Let us help our children understand that their value as persons is to be the best that they can be, whatever that might be.
– It is self-destructive when we lead them along a path of comparing them to others thinking that it will spur them to try harder. On the contrary they will feel belittled and inadequate in the long run.
– Every person can shine along their own unique path of life. When the opportunity presents itself, lead them to acknowledge their talents, good qualities, as well as admitting the weaker points of their personality and let them suggest how they can improve, without comparison to anyone else.

Family Prayer Time
–  In a quiet time of prayer, lead the children ~ to thank God for their achievements, ~ to ask for strength when they feel they need help.
– Using a Children’s  Bible look into anecdotes in the life of Our Lady and St. Joseph. They were simple people to all outward appearances and yet one was the Mother of God, the other His Protector! ( Children might draw an anecdote from the life of these personalities and decorate it with silver stars and a caption “Shining in God’s Eyes”)

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.