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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of the apostles Simon the Canaanite, called the Zealot, and Judas surnamed Thaddeus.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 6, 12-16

Now it happened in those days that he went onto the mountain to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God.

When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them 'apostles':

Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,

Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot,

Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church remembers the apostles Simon and Jude. Simon is nicknamed the "zealot" perhaps because he belonged to the group of anti-Roman zealots who even practiced violence. Tradition has it that he preached the Gospel in Samaria and in Mesopotamia and died in Persia. Jude, also called Thaddeus, which means "magnanimous", is the apostle who at the last supper asked Jesus if he would reveal himself only to the Twelve and not to the world. His name appears last in the list of the apostles. Tradition points to him as the author of the letter of the same name, addressed to converts from Judaism. Almost nothing is known of their lives, but they are no less important for that. In the Church it is not fame which counts, but communion with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, we often argue about who is first in the community, just as the disciples did. In the Church the only primacy­, which should be sought, is the primacy of love and, by extension, the primacy of generous, freely given service. Jesus called these apostles by name, too, as if to underline the fact that it is his love that gives his disciples dignity. And the love that should prevail among the disciples, the fraternal love that gives other people a reason to believe in the Lord, has its origin in the love Jesus shows for us. In the Bible, a name is not just a tool for identifying people, it is much more: it signifies the story, the heart, and the life of each individual. The Lord’s call often includes a change of name, that is, a change of heart and a new vocation. For example, Simon becomes Peter, meaning "rock" or "foundation." Receiving a name first of all means to be loved by God, that is, to be called by name. And then it also means receiving a new mission from God. Knowing one another by name is one of the most precious treasures in life, even mere human life. But the Lord exalts it even more: to know each other and to call each other by name is the sign of a love sealed by God. From this perspective, we can clearly see the level of familiarity that should characterize the lives of the disciples and extend to all, beginning with the poor. It is more than a little shocking, then, to get used to calling the poor themselves by name. It is difficult for this to happen. But there is a bond between the name of the disciples and the name of the poor. It is the gift of knowing that we are all children, loved by God, each with his or her own name.

Memory of the Apostles