Total dedication involves a complete and entire commitment to any course we choose in life. It is when we truly have this absolute passion in everything we do. Hence, total dedication to God involves our absolute commitment to our relationship with God.
This is when we have that zeal and ability to defend our faith notwithstanding the hard challenges and problems that will certainly come to our way. This is the attitude we must find in the lives of Jesus and His apostles.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude. What truly marks them out is that ability to preach the gospel despite the persecutions that came their way.
To be Christian is to totally commit our lives to God. It is giving our entire being, soul and body to God notwithstanding the challenges.
In today’s gospel, Luke lists the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus Christ. From Luke’s account, Jesus chooses these apostles from His disciples. It is in this list we see St Simon and Jude.
In this gospel, we see the attitude of Jesus before this selection. Jesus spends a whole night in communication with the Almighty Father. We see Jesus always doing this.
Before His agony, Jesus prays, before the feeding of the multitude, Jesus prays, before the raising of Lazarus, He also prays etc. Even before He died on the cross, He committed His Spirit in the hands of God (Luke 23:46).
This shows intimate communion and relationship with the Father. To be a Christian is to give God our entire being and allow Him to take control of our lives.
Saint Simon and Saint Jude.
For St. Simon, there is little information about him in the scriptures. We only see His name in the list of the apostles. We see this in Acts 1:3, Matthew 10:4 and in today’s gospel. Some see him as one of the brothers of Jesus in Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3.
Today’s gospel and Acts 1:3 call him a zealot. And tradition has it that he is one the Zealots before Jesus calls him to be an apostle.
The Zealots is a movement that fights for the freedom of the Jew from any foreign dominations. They are against anyone who claims authority and dominion over the Jews than God. We see in them the passion and zeal to defend their faith.
Many historians who wrote about Simon also certified this zeal in Him to serve God and defend the faith. He preached Jesus even in the face of great persecution in Edessa and Persia where he was later martyred.
St Jude is normally identified with Thaddeus or Labbaeus to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus. Let us not forget that the name Jude is the same as Judas in the New testament.
These names are variations of the Hebrew word Judah. Today’s gospel calls him the son of James (Luke 6:16) while Luke calls him and brother of James in Acts 1:13. Some Historians also identify him to be the one mentioned in Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3 as one of the brothers of Jesus.
This is why many allude that Simon and Jude are brothers. This may be the reason we celebrate their feasts together. While some conclude, it is because of their execution in Persia.
In Acts 1:13, Luke identifies that Jude is a brother of James which we also see in the epistle of St Jude in Jude 1. Thus, Mark mentions James as the son of Alphaeus in Mark 3:16–19.
Now, Matthew mentions the same Jude along with James as brothers of Jesus in Matthew 13:55, and Mark in Mark 6:3. This then means that they are probably the cousins of Jesus Christ. So probably, Simon and Jude, and James are brothers and cousins of Jesus.
Their mother was at the foot of the cross ( Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:55-56). Their father is known as Alphaeus or Clopas.
According to the 2nd Century historian Hegesippus and the 19th Century historian Alfred Eddersheim, Clopas was the brother of St. Joseph, the Foster father of Jesus whose wife Mary was at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25) but mentioned as the mother of James in Matthew 27:55-56.
There is an agreement among historians that Simon and St Jude were executed together in Persia. Their zeal for the Lord knew no bounds.
Like the Apostles.
These apostles we celebrate today suffered many trials, difficulties and persecutions by the people they were sent to preach yet they persevered to the end and even sacrificed their lives.
In the face of difficulties, they moved on instead of giving up. We see in them a total dedication and commitment to the gospel even in the face oppositions.
Like them, let us be zealous for the Lord. Let us not be afraid, let us not give up when things become hard and when challenges hit us from every angle.
Even in the midst of rejection, hatred and accusation from people, never give up on your faith. So total dedication to God goes beyond going to church every Sunday.
It goes beyond being just a member of an organisation. Total dedication involves giving God all our mind, soul, body and strength despite the challenges ahead of us. It is daily and intimate communion with God like Jesus does.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to remain close to God, May we stand firm even in the face of opposition Amen.
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