Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
When Judah, the son of Jacob, was born, his pious
mother joyfully called out, "'Now will I praise the Lord.' And for this
she called him Juda."
was a farmer. He spread the grains of barley and corn on the soil of the
land laid open by a plough. He was married before he was called by
Christ. Then he sowed the seed of the word of God over the wide spaces
of the earth. How well he could understand the following parables of
Matthew and Mark called him Thaddeus. The Apostle
Jude Thaddeus had a name that was as famous and honorable in his day.
And in the synagogue he quietly listened on many Sabbaths to sermons
inspired by the life and religion of this national hero. When the
apostle later found himself in difficult situations, he could look back
on his ideal.
He had two grandsons, Zoker and James. They lived
as simple farmers too. His Epistle, like that of his brother James, is
the writing of a farmer. It is forcible, almost rough, neither fine nor
delicate, with images from scenes of life in the country.
This apostle, too, like James, was closely related
to Jesus. St. Luke was the first to mention this apostle by his proper
name, Jude the brother of James." That these two were brothers is shown
in several passages in Holy Scripture. Both Matthew and Luke referred to
them as brothers, and Jude himself wrote in the beginning of his Epistle
that he was "the brother of James" the bishop of Jerusalem.
It is also noteworthy that the evangelists Matthew
and Mark placed James the Less and Thaddeus next to each other in their
lists of the apostles. At the same time, the question whether James and
Jude were blood brothers or only brothers in the sense of cousins cannot
be answered with certitude and must be left unsolved. There was another
ray of light that fell upon this good Jude, He was not only the brother
of the distinguished James, but also a "brother" of the Lord Himself.
The Nazarenes asked about Jesus, " 'Is not this the carpenter...the
brother of James...(and) Jude?'" It is not improper to think that this
apostle played and prayed with Jesus in the happy days of their youth.
They might well have run and rambled together on the way to the great
feasts in Jerusalem.
he conformed to his duty to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a
year for Easter, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. But he was only
too glad to return to his own village in Galilee. Perhaps it was Cana,
or it could even have been Nazareth. In the Holy City there was too much
noise and bustle. The crowds were large and impatient; the market place
was dirty and confusing. There was no quiet. Jude wanted to live in his
own small and quiet village and with his own family. Here his farm
blossomed and flourished. Here his wife was contented and his children
played. And yet, the day was near when he was to leave his loved family,
to give up his peaceful home, and to choose instead the homelessness of
the streets. Jude Thaddeus was a courageous man. When he was called to
follow the Lord as an apostle, to leave his wife and children, his home
and fields, he gave his commitment courageously and went out to be a
messenger of the kingdom of God.
He was so brave that his bravery must have
astonished even the Galileans, for they called him simply Thaddeus, the
courageous one. He was the bravest of the brave! And this name followed
him into the lists of the apostles in Sacred Scripture. Christ demanded
strong men; He was able to endow weak men with strong natures through
graces. The strong could feel themselves touched by Christ; the weak
could feel themselves drawn to Him. The power of Jesus is so great that
He can perfect the strong as well as the weak.
Among the sacred writings of the New Testament
there is found an Epistle written by Jude. This Epistle has been
attributed to the apostle Jude since early times, and for good reasons.
It was boldly and powerfully written, and only a Thaddeus, a courageous
one, could have written it. The whole Epistle is only twenty-five verses
long. The apostle addressed it "to the called who have been loved in God
the Father and preserved for Christ Jesus. The Epistle of St Jude was
written between the years 62 and 67,
inspired him and directed him. Here it becomes apparent that the courage
of the apostle Jude Thaddeus was a grace from God. The only credible
and reliable stories from his life are those drawn from the apostle's
own Epistle. Legends maintain that Jude Thaddeus first labored among
his own people in Palestine, and then journeyed through the neighboring
lands, Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia.
He is said to have suffered martyrdom in Berythus
(now Beirut, capital of Lebanon) or in Aradus in Phoenicia. When the
apostles entered the city of Suanir, they were called upon to
sacrifice in the pagan temple to the sun and the moon. Both explained
that the sun and the moon were only creations of the one true God, whom
they preached. The priests and people assailed
the two apostles. And
Jude said to Simon, "I see my Lord Jesus Christ calls us." A shower of
stones and a barrage of sticks killed them-therefore artists have
portrayed Jude with a stick in his hand. King Xerxes, as the
legend continues, supposedly had the bodies of these two apostles
martyrs taken to the city in which he resided. There he ordered that a
beautiful, eight-sided church be constructed out of marble. He had their
bodies preserved in a silver sarcophagus placed in a small room plated
with gold. The
should have been completed in three years, and consecrated on the day of
the apostles' death, July 1.
Jude Thaddeus was the patron of Christians troubled
with cares and anxieties, patron of Christians who are on the verge of
St. Jude's feast: day is October 28 (with St. Simon).
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