|"Saint Jude the Apostle" (left) and "Saint Simon the Apostle" -- by James Tissot|
SAINT SIMON and SAINT JUDE were probably brothers; the former received the surname Canaanite, to distinguish him from Simon Peter, either because he was a native of Cana, or because of his zeal for Christ (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). Judas was surnamed Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Both were chosen apostles by Christ, and were constant witnesses of His life and deeds. It is related of them in the Martyrology that the light of faith was communicated to Egypt and other countries of Africa by Simon, and to Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Greater Armenia by Thaddeus. Meeting in Persia, and propagating the Christian faith there by their preaching and miracles, they both gained the crown of martyrdom. There is extant an epistle of Saint Jude which the Church has incorporated into the Holy Scriptures. From these two apostles learn to have zeal for the glory of God, for your own salvation and for that of your neighbor.
O God, Who, by means of Thy blessed apostles Simon and Jude, hast granted us to come to the knowledge of Thy name, grant that we may celebrate their eternal glory by making progress in virtue and improve by this celebration. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Epistle: Ephesians 4:7-13
Brethren: To everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ. Wherefore He saith: Ascending on high He led captivity captive; He gave gifts to men. Now that He ascended, what is it, but because He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ.
Gospel: John 15:17-25
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: These things command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember My word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake; because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated Me without cause.
From the fact that Christ and His disciples were hated and persecuted by the world the greatest consolation and encouragement may be derived by those who are obliged to suffer mockery, contempt, and persecution because they are not of the world; that is, because they do not follow its foolish principles and sinful customs. But they who, to escape the derision and hatred of the world, side with it, rather than with Christ, may learn to be ashamed of their cowardice and baseness. For as it is an honor to the servant to be treated like his master, so it is a great disgrace to him to be treated better than his master; if, then, the master is pleased to submit to the hatred and persecution of the world, why do his servants refuse to do so?
When Christ says that the Jews could not excuse themselves on the ground that they did not know Him, but had hated and persecuted Him when it was easy for them to have known Him by His works, He teaches us that ignorance is not in every case an excuse for sin. Those Christians, therefore, are in the highest degree culpable who, like the Jews, might easily learn what they ought to believe and do, but who fail to do so either through maliciousness or neglect, and accordingly remain in ignorance by their own fault. Acting in this kind of ignorance, they become guilty of sin, and will be justly condemned forever. It is otherwise with men who, without any fault of theirs, hear nothing of Christ or of the true faith, on account of which they are not punishable, but who will be condemned for such sins as they commit against that natural law which is inscribed on the heart of every man.
Goffine's Devout Instructions