Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles (Feast)

 

You are fellow citizens with the holy ones. 

 

Although Paul is referring to the Gentiles in today’s first reading (Ephesians 2:19),  you could certainly call Simon and Jude “fellow citizens” of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19).   After all, these two men, whose feast we celebrate today, were among the twelve apostles.   You can’t get more “citizenly” than that!   But the divisions that existed among the Jews and Gentiles could have applied to these saints too.

Why?   Because Jesus chose them, along with the rest of the Twelve, from a variety of backgrounds: Matthew, a tax collector;   Simon, a Zealot who hated tax collectors;   some fishermen;   and others with their own personalities we don’t know much about.   You would be hard-pressed to find a more unlikely group!   But as they followed Jesus, their love for him—and his love for them—brought them together.

We don’t have to look far today to see the way differences can cause division.   On a broad scale, we see nations torn apart by war and political polarization.   On a much smaller scale, we see friends and family members whose relationships are strained or broken.  We even see divisions in our Church and parishes, despite the fact that we have all been baptized in Christ and are all “members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

The answer to divisions, whether big or small, is Jesus.   It’s simple but true.   If his love can break down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles, between a tax collector and a Zealot, it can do the same for us today.

Do you sense a barrier or some tension with someone in your parish who is very different from you?   Commit it to Jesus.   He can open your heart and help you to recognize that person’s inherent goodness and value.   He may even show you whether you are being judgmental or envious, or prompt you to change your tone of voice when speaking to that person.

God doesn’t expect us to be best friends with every Christian we encounter.   But he does want us to recognize each one as a brother or sister in Christ.   The Church is made up of many varied members.   But it’s together as one that we, the body of Christ, give witness to the world about who Jesus is.

“Sts. Simon and Jude, help me to be an instrument of reconciliation.”

Psalm 19:2-5
Luke 6:12-16

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