Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Lk 6:12-16
The 12 Apostles were called by God through prayer. Twelve ordinary men called by God to do extraordinary things. They became the backbone of the Catholic Church and Jesus asked them to convert the whole world including the most dominant empire anyone had ever seen in the Romans to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Nobody could have predicted that by the 3rd century the Roman Empire would be converted to Christianity and Christianity would be the official religion of the empire. The Apostles were far from perfect. Judas betrays Jesus. Peter denies Jesus 3 times. All of them except John hide during the Passion and Death of Jesus. Faith is a journey, wrestling with God.
How did these men gather up the courage to preach repentance and baptize 3 continents after Jesus died? Jesus visits them after the resurrection and breathes the Holy Spirit on them at Pentecost. After hiding, they go on to several different regions around the Mediterranean Sea, preaching repentance and baptism, performing miracles, healing the sick, and most importantly imitating Jesus Christ. They did this in such a profound way that they each died a martyr’s death except John who died naturally after he could not be killed in boiling oil, he was a white martyr. The following is how each Apostle died with the best information we have, http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/whatever-happened-to-the-twelve-apostles-11629558.html
PETER and PAUL were both martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, since he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
ANDREW went to the “land of the man-eaters,” in what is now the Soviet Union. Christians there claim him as the first to bring the gospel to their land. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.
“Doubting” THOMAS was probably most active in the area east of Syria. Tradition has him preaching as far east as India, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder. They claim that he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.
PHILIP possibly had a powerful ministry in Carthage in North Africa and then in Asia Minor, where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested and cruelly put to death.
MATTHEW the tax collector and writer of a Gospel, ministered in Persia and Ethiopia. Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
BARTHOLOMEW had widespread missionary travels attributed to him by tradition: to India with Thomas, back to Armenia, and also to Ethiopia and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the gospel.
JAMES the son of Alpheus, is one of at least three James referred to in the New Testament. There is some confusion as to which is which, but this James is reckoned to have ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.
SIMON THE ZEALOT, so the story goes, ministered in Persia and was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
MATTHIAS was the apostle chosen to replace Judas. Tradition sends him to Syria with Andrew and to death by burning.
JOHN is the only one of the company generally thought to have died a natural death from old age. He was the leader of the church in the Ephesus area and is said to have taken care of Mary the mother of Jesus in his home. During Domitian’s persecution in the middle 90’s, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. There he is credited with writing the last book of the New Testament–the Revelation. An early Latin tradition has him escaping unhurt after being cast into boiling oil at Rome.
Today, Christians are being persecuted throughout the world. What is it that these Christians have that make them so willing to die for Christ? It amazes me! Could I die for Jesus right now if I was being persecuted leaving my family and kids? A personal relationship with Jesus Christ in prayer at the foot of the cross each day is the beginning of the most radical and amazing journey you will ever begin.
Learning about Jesus in the Scriptures to nurture this relationship is a must in increasing your faith. Realizing His love and sacrifice for you is overwhelming. Learning the details of the Passion of Christ is truly extraordinary. Receiving Jesus in the sacraments and spending time with Him in adoration continue to nurture this relationship. Finally, a person decides to totally and completely consecrate oneself to Christ through Mary and Joseph, die to self, put on Christ, and carry their daily crosses as a disciple of Christ. This requires great persecution and one is ready for the greatest of battles, even death.
Christ conquered sin and death. Leaving this world is not scary or terrible, it leads to a life without pain and suffering, complete joy, fulfillment, and peace with the One a person spent so much time with here on earth trying to imitate to glorify Our Father. It is all to glorify the One who made us and has been chasing after us since the foundation of the world, sending His Son to redeem us and give us an avenue back to Him.
Today’s challenge: Be who God called you to be and do not be afraid. Deepen your relationship with Jesus in prayer, Scripture, and the sacraments.
Be a servant, become a saint!