Today, we celebrate two of the Apostles, Simon & Jude.
One nice thing about having two of them on one day is that it reminds us that they were friends. The readings talk about friendship: their friendship with Jesus, and ours.
So the first reading said: “You are no longer strangers and sojourners”—that means traveler. We don’t wander about, alone—
we are friends: friends with one other, friends with Jesus.
Next Tuesday, we’ll celebrate All Saints Day. Today, we celebrate two of them, who—as we heard in the Gospel—were special friends to the Lord.
They lived with him, traveled with him, when Jesus walked on earth.
This friendship, that comes through Jesus—again, friendship with Jesus, and friendship with his friends, the Saints—we might wonder what’s special about it.
All of us have some friends. Some of us have more than others.
Sometimes, we don’t get along with our friends: maybe we fail to be a good friend; or our friends fail us. Maybe we fight with our friends, or let them down.
The friendship we see Jesus has with his saints is the model of what friendship can be.
Think about it: the Apostles, just like us, sometimes failed to be good friends.
While Jesus was hurt by that, he always reached out to help them be more than they were. Jesus saw in them not only their weaknesses, he also saw all that they could be: he saw that they could be saints,
before they were saints!
Jesus had faith in his friends, the Apostles; Jesus has faith in you and me!
And that brings me to another feature of friendship: friendship is never about excluding anyone. Jesus had his circle of 12 friends. But never did Jesus say: “Only these 12—no more!” Because then there wouldn’t be any place for us!
Do you see that artwork up here, under the tabernacle? Do you see what it is? It’s an image of Jesus with those first, 12 friends. It’s the first time anyone had Mass with Jesus: the first time anyone shared His Body and Blood.
If Jesus was going to say, “Just these friends—and no more”—what are you and I doing here, now? How can we share the same friendship?
The reason is, that Jesus doesn’t say, “Keep out”; rather, Jesus says, there’s room for more friends!
You and I called to treat people exactly the same way.
When you’re playing; when you’re working; when you are seated at the table, eating—Christ had room for us; you and I can make room for others.
Let me ask you—do you think Simon and Jude realized just how special a friend Jesus was?
Of course they did!
They—like all the saints—gave their lives to Jesus!
You don’t do that very often. That’s the deepest, closest friendship possible. They did it for Jesus, because Jesus changed their lives;
because he loved them that much. Their response was to give their lives to Jesus—from that moment on, they lived for him. And when someone said, “Deny your friendship with Jesus," they said, they’d rather die—and they did. That’s why we wear red on this day.
Jesus invites each of us to this same friendship. I don’t mean a mere acquaintance. A lot of folks are just “acquainted” with Jesus—
“Oh, hi, Jesus, how’re you doing?”
No, I’m talking about deep friendship—sharing everything; having someone to stand by you. He did for St. Jude and St. Simon.
And he can—and will—do the very same for you and me.