October 28, 2011 - Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles

Today's Readings

The manager of a professional sports team, whatever sport, chooses each player for some talent, something that person has to offer. This is true of every team, but how much more so of the All-Star team where salary and other considerations do not matter. The Apostles are Jesus’ All-Star team.

Today we celebrate the feast of Ss. Simon and Jude, about whom we know nothing except that Jesus chose them after spending the night in prayer. This would seem to be a resounding endorsement, except that Judas Iscariot also was chosen on that same day. It is a mystery why Jesus chose someone whom he knew would betray him, but it is also a mystery why he chose the other eleven. Why did he choose St. Peter, the uneducated fisherman, who would deny him? Why did he choose Thomas who would not believe until he saw? Why did he choose Andrew or James or John or Philip or Bartholomew or Matthew or the other James? Why did he choose Simon and Jude?

Though we know only Peter’s betrayal, that is because he is the head of the Apostles. All except John abandoned Jesus in his greatest time of need; all, including John, were sinners. Jesus chose to make use of these men, not because they were the best but because they were the right ones to lay a solid foundation for the Church. They did this, and for 2000 years the Church has survived and flourished.

And we are members of the household of God, the Church, built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the keystone, holding it all together. This is our image of the Church, not some organization or institution composed of human beings, fallen human beings. It is a work of art, the work of God’s own hands. It is built up through human beings, but it does not depend on any man. For every Judas, there is a Matthias ready to replace him. The Church does not need any member, no matter how important, except Jesus.

The Church is not a club we belong to; she is the instrument of our salvation. Not even the incompetence and sinfulness and wickedness of those who have been trusted with leadership in the Church weakens her. The strength of the Church is not in numbers or popularity. The strength of the Church is Jesus. Forming part of the Church, the small part that you and I each have, is a privilege.