St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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SS Simon and Jude : Fr Tony Hogg

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 Today, on this Feast of Saint Simon and Jude, you would hardly have had time to get settled 
in your seat, if the sermon consisted only of what we know about them. 
The name of Simon is placed eleventh in the list of the apostles and nothing is known of him 
except that he was born in Cana and was known as the Zealot.
Jude, also known as Thaddaeus, was the apostle, who at the Last Supper, asked the Lord why 
he showed himself only to his disciples and not to the world. He wrote the Epistle with his 
name. He is also the ‘patron saint of lost causes’.
However, we do know that the public veneration of saints in the Christian Church is known to 
have existed since the 2nd century. It developed on local communities; it was based on the 
saint’s tomb; it was a consequence of the general belief that a martyr who had shed his blood 
for Christ was certainly in Heaven and able to exercise intercessory prayer on those who 
invoked him. 
“What then is a Saint? A particular individual completely redeemed from self-occupation; 
who, because of this, is able to embody and radiate a measure of Eternal Life. His whole life, 
personal, social, intellectual, mystical, is lived in this supernatural regard. What is he for? To 
help, save, enlighten by his loving actions and contemplations; to oppose in one way or 
another, by suffering, prayer and work upon heroic levels of love and self-oblation, the 
downward drag, which we call sin.” (The Love of God – Evelyn Underhill.)
Much of what those who were to be named saints were able to achieve was their constant 
reliance on the words that 
Christ gave them, while they went with him on the various journeys, hearing him preaching, 
healing, eating with all manner of people. The underlining message that came through all this
 could be summed up in words from today’s Gospel; “ These things I command that ye love 
one another.” After the Ascension, they would find the real, and often daunting truth of how 
difficult that was to be; many were persecuted and many martyred for the faith, and would 
too learn as Jesus had said that they would be hated. Today we are reminded that the 
relationship of true friendship Jesus and his disciples had for each other, based on the love of 
God, is the very same relationship we experience continually with God. As St Paul reminds 
us: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
However, if we are honest, we know that the concept of ‘love one another’ is not always easy 
to maintain. Many years ago in one of my parishes, I was struggling with a particularly 
difficult parishioner, who in common parlance should have been awarded ‘the order of the 
wooden spoon First Class’! I took all this to my Father Confessor, who with his usual wisdom 
gave me this advice:” My dear Tony, the Good Book may tell us to LOVE our neighbour, but 
nowhere does it tells us we have to LIKE him.” 
From that I was able to move forward knowing that God’s friendship is given to each of us not
 by domination, control, or fear but upon mutual love, justice and forgiveness. What Jesus
 reminds us that although love is not always easy to give to all, it is a better than hate. Love 
does have the ability to grow and blossom into something good and beautiful, whereas hate 
is a canker that grows only by destroying.
 
When we feel that all is not right in any of our feelings for each other, we know that we can 
bring that failure to God in confession because we know that humanity really does need God 
to be truly human and God has entrusted the world to humanity. It is through our human 
weakness that we sin, BUT we also know that God forgives us and urges us on to start again.
We know that ‘God was made flesh’ which the priest reminds of at the Offertory prayer; “By 
The mingling of this water and wine, may we come to share in Christ’s Divinity as He humbled 
Himself to share in our Humanity.” Heaven and earth united in the fight for all that is good, 
shown forth by the command that ‘ye love one another’. That is the life rooted in friendship, 
love and liking us, ‘warts and all’ teaching us throughout His ministry that all will be equal. 
That is why Jesus had to live among the people, even though many hated Him, and in the 
Gospel today he warns his disciples that they too will be hated. But his mission was as “God 
made man’ they could come together in mutual friendship, loving and indeed for many even 
liking. Whatever  little we know about the historical Jesus we do know that he had friends; 
friendship based upon mutual acceptance and love; in knowing who they are and not what 
they are. That is why Jesus died for his friends, for us, His friends too.
If the disciples were alarmed by the words of Jesus regarding hostility, hatred etc., the end of 
the message today could only have given them joyful hope. The promise of a Comforter, the 
reward and enabler for their perseverance. ‘If ye love me’. This is the secret root of all real 
caring that is prepared to sacrifice for others’ good. Love of all that Christ stands for. Is this 
mere emotionalism? But listen. ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ There is feeling and 
there is doing.
So, my dear friends, this week, given the prayers of Simon, Jude, may you all have that feeling 
too which will turn into doing in all you attempt this week, enable too by the Comforter, The
 Holy Spirit.
Amen
 

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