Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. The readings are typical for the feast of Apostles - the first reading from Ephesians 2 and the Gospel reading from Luke 6 naming the Apostles. Let's reflect on these two men.
First, we have to remember that the Twelve were real men. Each had a past and a story before following Jesus. Saint Jude was also known as Thaddeus, Judas and/or Jude Thaddeus. This may have been to distinguish him from the other Judas, the betrayer. Saint Jude is best known as the patron saint of lost or hopeless causes because of his powerful intercession in dire situations.
Saint Simon, called the Cananaean or the Zealot, was probably part of a revolutionary group of Jews who forcibly resisted the Romans. In the TV series The Chosen, he is portrayed as an assassin (a not out-of-the-question idea). Think of the transformation Simon had to go through to follow Jesus. A man of violence now following a Rabbi who told him to love his enemies. The stories of these two Apostles should remind us of the old saying, "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."
Father, may we imitate the examples of Saints Simon and Jude and follow Jesus unreservedly. Amen. Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us.