Thursday, October 30, 2008

Simon the Zealot

This is an easy post to make because we really don't know anything about this guy. He doesn't even have his own feast day, sharing this one with St. Jude. At least St. Jude has an epistle, a second name (Thaddeus), and a popular devotion (hopeless causes). What do we remember Simon for? Coming before Judas in the lists of the Apostles, being called "the Zealot," and not being Peter.

That's it.

Of all the other Apostles, he is probably the most mysterious and least known. It's almost unthinkable for me that a guy can be hand-picked by Christ Himself to spread His message and yet be almost invisible historically. Probably something to learn there. Similar to St. Therese's thinking, you don't have to light up the sky with miracles and/or profound thinking to be somebody. Grace is enough.

This is a pretty big deal in Simon's case. If he was a member of the Zealots, which is debated, he probably spent his spare time reading the Law and knifing random Romans in the back. In other words, he had probably murdered a few guys in his day. We must recall, though, that if Christ could call a tax collector, or an average shmoe fisherman, or a prostitute, why not a murderer as well? His coupling with Judas in the apostolic lists is also interesting given that many scholars do think that Judas was a Zealot or someone of a similar mindset. The allure of the temporally messianic Christ is what you'll see some folks point to as Judas's breaking point. If that's really the case, then the dichotomy between these two couldn't be be more obvious. Simon made his choice, and Judas took the opposite road.

I'll leave it at that, I think. I really just wanted St. Simon to get some well-deserved, yet little received, publicity on his (admittedly joint) feast day.

St. Simon the Zealot, pray for us that the zeal of our hearts for God's cause may ever increase.

No comments: