There’s a great scene in one of my favorite movies, “The Princess Bride,” when Vizzini and Inigo Montoya are sword fighting, and Vizzini keeps using the word “inconceivable.” After a while, Inigo says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Well, today we celebrate the feast of two apostles whose names do not mean who we think they mean!
Jude is called Judas in Luke and in the Acts of the Apostles, but he’s not that Judas. Matthew and Mark call him Thaddeus. We have in the New Testament the letter of Jude, but scholars say it is not written by the man whose feast we celebrate today. Saint Jude is perhaps best known as the patron saint of the seemingly-impossible, reminding us that in God, all things are possible.
Simon – and this is not the Simon who Jesus later named Peter – was a Zealot, a member of a radical party that disavowed all ties with the government, holding that Israel should be re-elevated to political greatness under the leadership of God alone. They also held that any payment of taxes to the Romans was a blasphemy against God.
Neither of these men held any claim to greatness here on earth; they found their glory in following Christ. Their joy was, as St. Paul instructs us in his letter to the Ephesians, in that their citizenship was in heaven, as it is for all of us. We are merely passing through this place, and our task while we are here, as was the task for Simon and Jude and all the apostles, is to live for Christ and to live the Gospel. The reward for them, then, as is for all of us, is in heaven, their and our true home.
Their message, as the Psalmist says, goes out to all the earth. Blessed are all of us when we catch that message and live that message, following the way to Christ Jesus.