FEAST OF ST. SIMON AND JUDE
John 20, Verse 21
[Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Christ then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.” This is the peace of Christ. This is the renewal of man. Just as God the father breathed the breath of life in Adam now Christ breathes the breath of life in his church via the apostles and to all mankind through the sacrament of confession. This is why the Sanhedrin killed Christ because He forgave sins; seek his face; seek his peace through this sacrament.
Feast of Saint Simon and Jude
ST. SIMON and St. Jude were probably brothers; the former received the surname Canaanite, to distinguish him from Simon Peter, either because he was a native of Cana, or because of his zeal for Christ (Luke v L 15; Acts i. 13). Judas was surnamed Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Both were chosen apostles by Christ, and were constant witnesses of His life and deeds. It is related of them in the Martyrology that the light of faith was communicated to Egypt and other countries of Africa by Simon, and to Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Greater Armenia by Thaddeus. Meeting in Persia, and propagating the Christian faith there by their preaching and miracles, they both gained the crown of martyrdom. There is extant an epistle of St. Jude which the Church has incorporated into the Holy Scriptures. From these two apostles learn to have zeal for the glory of God, for your own salvation and for that of your neighbor.
O God, Who, by means of Thy blessed apostles Simon and Jude, hast granted us to come to the knowledge of Thy name, grant that we may celebrate their eternal glory by making progress in virtue and improve by this celebration.
EPISTLE. Ephes. iv. 7-13.
Brethren: To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ. Wherefore He saith: Ascending on high He led captivity captive; He gave gifts to men. Now that He ascended, what is it, but because He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ.
GOSPEL. John xv. 17-25.
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember My word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake: because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated Me without cause.
From the fact that Christ and His disciples were hated and persecuted by the world the greatest consolation and encouragement may be derived by those who are obliged to suffer mockery, contempt, and persecution because they are not of the world; that is, because they do not follow its foolish principies and sinful customs. But they who, to escape the derision and hatred of the world, side with it, rather than with Christ, may learn to be ashamed of their cowardice and baseness. For as it is an honor to the servant to be treated like his master, so it is a great disgrace to him to be treated better than his master; if, then, the master is pleased to submit to the hatred and persecution of the world, why do his servants refuse to do so? When Christ says that the Jews could not excuse themselves on the ground that they did not know Him, but had hated and persecuted Him when it was easy for them to have known Him by His works, He teaches us that ignorance is not in every case an excuse for sin. Those Christians, therefore, are in the highest degree culpable who, like the Jews, might easily learn what they ought to believe and do, but who fail to do so either through maliciousness or neglect, and accordingly remain in ignorance by their own fault. Acting in this kind of ignorance, they become guilty of sin, and will be justly condemned forever. It is otherwise with men who, without any fault of theirs, hear nothing of Christ or of the true faith, on account of which they are not punishable, but who will be condemned for such sins as they commit against that natural law which is inscribed on the heart of every man.
Saint Simon and Jude
St. Simon is represented in art with a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom. St. Jude's square points him out as an architect of the house of God. St. Paul called himself by this name; and St. Jude, by his Catholic Epistle, has also a special right to be reckoned among our Lord's principal workmen. But our apostle had another nobility, far surpassing all earthly titles: being nephew, by his father Cleophas or Alpheus, to St. Joseph, and legal cousin to the Man-God, Jude was one of those called by their compatriots the brethren of the carpenter's Son. We may gather from St. John's Gospel another precious detail concerning him. In the admirable discourse at the close of the last Supper, our Lord said: "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father: and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him." Then Jude asked Him: "Lord, how is it, that Thou wilt manifest Thyself to us, and not to the world?" And he received from Jesus this reply: "If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My word. And the word which you have heard is not Mine, but the Fathers who sent Me."
St. Jude Patron: Desperate situations; forgotten causes; hospital workers; hospitals; impossible causes; lost causes; diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida.
St. Simon Patron: Curriers; sawmen; sawyers; tanners.
Traditional Jews give at least ten percent of their income to charity.
· Traditional Jewish homes commonly have a pushke, a box for collecting coins for the poor, and coins are routinely placed in the box. Jewish youths are continually going from door to door collecting for various worthy causes.
· A standard mourner's prayer includes a statement that the mourner will make a donation to charity in memory of the deceased.
· In many ways, charitable donation has taken the place of animal sacrifice in Jewish life: giving to charity is an almost instinctive Jewish response to express thanks to G-d, to ask forgiveness from G-d, or to request a favor from G-d.
· According to Jewish tradition, the spiritual benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar actually does the giver a favor by giving a person the opportunity to perform tzedakah.
The Meaning of the Word "Tzedakah"
"Tzedakah" is the Hebrew word for the acts that we call "charity" in English: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes.
· The nature of tzedakah is very different from the idea of charity. The word "charity" suggests benevolence and generosity, a magnanimous act by the wealthy and powerful for the benefit of the poor and needy.
· The word "tzedakah" is derived from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness.
· In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due.
The Obligation of Tzedakah
Giving to the poor is an obligation in Judaism, a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those who are themselves in need.
· Tzedakah is the highest of all commandments, equal to all of them combined, and that a person who does not perform tzedakah is equivalent to an idol worshipper.
· This is probably hyperbole, but it illustrates the importance of tzedakah in Jewish thought.
· Tzedakah is one of the three acts that gain us forgiveness from our sins.
· The High Holiday liturgy repeatedly states that G-d has inscribed a judgment against all who have sinned, but teshuvah (repentance), tefilah (prayer) and tzedakah can alleviate the decree. See Days of Awe.
· According to Jewish law, we are required to give one-tenth of our income to the poor.
· This is generally interpreted as one-tenth of our net income after payment of taxes.
· Taxes themselves do not fulfill our obligation to give tzedakah, even though a significant portion of tax revenues in America and many other countries are used to provide for the poor and needy.
· Those who are dependent on public assistance or living on the edge of subsistence may give less, but must still give to the extent they are able; however, no person should give so much that he would become a public burden.
· The obligation to perform tzedakah can be fulfilled by giving money to the poor, to health care institutions, to synagogues or to educational institutions.
· It can also be fulfilled by supporting your children beyond the age when you are legally required to, or supporting your parents in their old age.
· The obligation includes giving to both Jews and gentiles; contrary to popular belief, Jews do not just "take care of our own." Quite the contrary, a study reported in the Jewish Journal indicated that Jewish "mega-donors" (who give more than $10 million a year to charity) found that only 6% of their mega-dollars went to specifically Jewish causes.
· Judaism acknowledges that many people who ask for charity have no genuine need. In fact, the Talmud suggests that this is a good thing: if all people who asked for charity were in genuine need, we would be subject to punishment (from G-d) for refusing anyone who asked.
· The existence of frauds diminishes our liability for failing to give to all who ask, because we have some legitimate basis for doubting the beggar's sincerity.
· It is permissible to investigate the legitimacy of a charity before donating to it.
· We have an obligation to avoid becoming in need of tzedakah.
· A person should take any work that is available, even if he thinks it is beneath his dignity, to avoid becoming a public charge.
· However, if a person is truly in need and has no way to obtain money on his own, he should not feel embarrassed to accept tzedakah.
· No person should feel too proud to take money from others.
· It is considered a transgression to refuse tzedakah. One source says that to make yourself suffer by refusing to accept tzedakah is equivalent to shedding your own blood.
Levels of Tzedakah
Certain kinds of tzedakah are considered more meritorious than others. The Talmud describes these different levels of tzedakah, and Rambam organized them into a list. The levels of charity, from the least meritorious to the most meritorious, are:
- Giving begrudgingly
- Giving less that you should but giving it cheerfully.
- Giving after being asked
- Giving before being asked
- Giving when you do not know the recipient's identity, but the recipient knows your identity
- Giving when you know the recipient's identity, but the recipient doesn't know your identity
- Giving when neither party knows the other's identity
- Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant
The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.