Simon the Zealot is from the vicinity of Cana and quite possibly a member of the party for which he was named, while Jude is a first cousin on Jesus’s maternal side via a sister of the Blessed Virgin. Both Simon and Jude grew up with Our Lord and are mentioned among the brethren that went to see Our Lord in the synagogue at Nazareth. Little is known of them. Neither of them stands out like Peter, Andrew, Bartholomew, or Paul. Rather, they seemed to be rather quiet men. Both Simon and Jude were witnesses to the Resurrection and Ascension. Afterwards, they went to preach the Gospel throughout the world. Simon “the Zealot” went to preach throughout the known world including Greece, Persia, and the kingdom of Iberia (Georgia). Jude also went on apostolic journeys throughout Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) and Armenia. Both of these brethren of Our Lord were martyred. Jude was clubbed to death, while Simon was sawn in half.
It is important for us to remember that Our Lord did not call the mighty of this world to become His Apostles. Rather, he chose men with humble or even despised occupations. Sts. Peter and Andrew were fishermen, while St. Matthew was a tax collector. For the most part, these were men that were on the lower rungs of the economic ladder in Jesus’s Israel. Therefore, they are very much like most Christians throughout the centureis. They were utterly ordinary men, who were called to do extraordinary things for Our Lord and His heavenly kingdom.
It is with great certainty that most of the Apostles were martyred. Many of them died excruciating deaths like Sts. Simon and Jude, while one of them (St. John the Theologian) was vouchsafed to die of old age. But not even St. John was spared torture and derision as well as persecution. Indeed, the Apostles paid the ultimate price for having followed Our Lord and yet they converted hundreds in their wake. From Constantinople to Great Britain to India, many Catholic peoples attribute their conversions to the work of the Apostles. Among the Armenians, St. Jude is honored as one of their patrons together with the Apostle Bartholomew.
As the psalmist once wrote hundreds of years before Our Lord, “Their voice has gone out throughout the world.” In the centuries that have followed the deaths of the Apostles, their voice has gone to every corner of the known world. There is not a country on this earth that does not have a Catholic presence. Even where that presencie is small or minimal, it can trace its origins back to the Apostles themselves via the bishops that they and their descendants consecrated.
Yet Apostolic succession aside, the faith has been handed down from generation unto generation by ordinary people. Indeed, each one of us is called to be an apostle in our own unique. Although we may not have to walk great distances in order to convert people, we are commanded to do so through the example of our lives and the way we live. If we lives as good and pious Catholics, others will take notice. Indeed, they will ask us why we do such and so or why it is that such and so is important to us.
Simple things like rosaries and Miraculous Medals have the ability to speak powerfully to various people. I can tell you of at least several times where these sacramentals have been conversation starters with people that I never would have talked with. Yet they expressed interest through the working of the Holy Spirit and I did what I thought I should do although I probably did not do it well.
Yet no matter what we do, we must realize that we are examples to others. Like St. Francis, the Apostles, and the saints, we should strive to imitate Christ and to become like Him. If we hear the voice of Christ as it has emanated throughout the Church for centuries, then we simply cannot sit idle and keep it to ourselves. Christ calls us to be His disciples and aposles in our own day and age.
On this most glorious feast day, let us hear His call and discern how we are to help others.
Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!
Sts. Simon and Jude, pray for us!