Daily Reflection
October 28th, 2006

Roc O'Connor

Theology Department and Campus Ministry
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Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude
Ephesians 2:19-22
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
Luke 6:12-16

Perhaps it is good fortune that we celebrate today St. Jude, patron of hopeless cases. Sorry to give St. Simon short shrift. Such is life.

I recall that my grandma had a great devotion to St. Jude. She needed to with all the difficulties and challenges she had in raising her family in the Depression, sending a son to Europe in World War II, and trying to be on top of just everything. A lot went right for her, but not everything. So, she implored St. Jude’s intercession all the time.

I think that, like my grandma, many of us seek divine assistance in the midst of our troubles. I sure do. Many folks still probably have quite a devotion to St. Jude, also known as the Wonder Worker.

Here’s a thought that connects today’s feast with today’s first reading. Perhaps the hopeless case today has to do with reconciliation between nations, peoples, families, factions in society and church, and the like. Perhaps we might entreat St. Jude to intercede on behalf of all of us who, because of our brokenness, end up as outsiders in somebody’s estimation.

It is interesting how the Vulgate translates the first line of the reading so rhapsodically: “You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but citizens…” But, note how the NRSV translation is characteristically closer to the Greek (parepidemos): “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens…” The Greek word refers to exiles, refugees, outsiders, if you will.

Paul refers to us Gentiles as the outsiders in terms of God’s covenant with Israel. Just a few verses before this passage, Paul wrote:

Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh… were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh…
(Ephesians 2:11-14)

Christ reconciled Jews and Gentiles through the cross. Perhaps the answer to our prayer for reconciliation to St. Jude might lead many of us to the cross that now leans up against “the dividing wall of enmity.” Perhaps the intercession of St. Jude might lead some of us hopeless cases to open to Christ’s mission of reconciliation.

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