Apart from a listing of their names as among the apostles chosen by Jesus (Luke 6:15-16), Scripture tells us precious little about Saints Simon and Jude.
We do know that Simon was referred to as the “zealot,” which meant that he was a member of a political party in Palestine that sought the end of Roman occupation of Israel. Jude was known for his genuine love for the people of God. Tradition holds that they traveled to Persia, where they converted many people and were eventually martyred.
Even though we don’t know much about Simon and Jude, the Church honors them as saints because they responded in faith to Jesus’ invitation and were among the first eyewitnesses to God’s plan of salvation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Church “is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles” (CCC, 857). The Church was built on the foundation of the teaching of apostles like Simon and Jude—people whose lives were radically transformed by the experience of the risen Christ.
During Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, Jude asked him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22). Jesus responded with a promise. Those who love him and keep his word would receive an indescribable blessing: the Father and the Son would come to live within them (John 14:23). The fulfillment of this promise in Simon, Jude, and the other apostles made it possible for them to spread the gospel and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
All members of the Church share in this apostolic mission equally (CCC, 863). For all members, “the fruitfulness of apostolate for ordained ministers as well as for lay people clearly depends on their vital union with Christ” (864). Each one of us shares in some way in the blessing and call of the apostles. We are all invited to love Jesus and become vessels of grace for God’s honor. In Christ, with Christ, and through Christ, let us give glory to God and fulfill the call he has given to us.
By virtue of your baptism, the Father and the Son live in you. If feelings of unworthiness cause you to doubt this truth, ask the Lord to show you how he has redeemed you through the cross. Pray that the Lord would manifest himself in you in a greater way. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Church “continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors”—the bishops, assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the pope (CCC, 857). Spend time praying for the shepherds of the Church. Ask that the Lord fill them with wisdom and compassion in leading their flock to Christ. And thank the Lord Jesus for choosing men like Simon and Jude to build the Church and for preserving their teachings for the past two thousand years. Invite Jesus to come and make his home in you and thank him for the apostolate to which he has called you.