Memory of the apostles

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Feast of the apostles Simon the Canaanite, called the Zealot, and Judas surnamed Thaddeus.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 6,12-19

Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them 'apostles': Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor. He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples, with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were also cured, and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church remembers the apostles Simon and Jude. Simon is nicknamed the "zealot" perhaps because he belonged to the group of anti-Roman zealots who even practiced violence. Tradition has it that he preached the Gospel in Samaria and in Mesopotamia and died in Persia. Judas, also called Thaddeus, which means "magnanimous", is the apostle who at the last supper asked Jesus if he would reveal himself only to the disciples and not to the world. His name appears last in the list of the apostles. Tradition points to him as the author of the letter that carries the same name, addressed to converts from Judaism. Almost nothing is known of their lives, but they are no less important for that. In the Church it is not fame which counts, but communion with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters. The Gospel passage emphasizes not the diversity of their tasks but the crucial fact that they are all close to Jesus. The search for who is the first among them sounds completely out of place. Unfortunately it also happens frequently in the Christian community. Not that the first place is sought in serving, but in appearing or being at the centre. If anything, the primacy to be sought is that of love, of generous, selfless service. The evangelist emphasizes the list of names. Jesus calls everyone by name, even Simon and Judas. It is his direct call - by name - that makes them disciples and then apostles, sent for the mission of the Gospel. From this common call also flows the fraternity among them. This is why Jesus will say that mutual love will be the way others will recognize his disciples. In the biblical mentality, the name is not just a tool for identifying people, it is much more: it signifies the story, the heart, and the life of each individual. We all know by experience that knowing one another by name is one of the most precious treasures in life, even if only human life. The Lord exalts this dimension of fraternity even more: to know each other and to call each other by name is the sign of a love sealed by God. This is why familiarity characterizes the life of the disciples and leads to know the names of other members of the fraternity, including the poor. It is difficult that the poor are called by name. Rather no one does it. Calling them by name is a sign of great affection and respect. They are surprised buy it. This is how we defeat the anonymity that is one of the saddest aspects of our society.