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Fr. Emmanuel Akalue

Homily - Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

On this Feast of the Apostles, Simon and Jude, we share this message, “The Significance and irreplaceability of the Apostles as Foundation Stones of the Church.” Beloved, not a lot is known about Apostle Simon, except that he was martyred.  But St. Jude (Judas Thaddeus) was a cousin of the Lord and of St James (cf. Gal 1:17; Jude 1:1). He asked the Lord, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:21). The Lord’s reply gives us tremendous hope: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).

Today, many people do not understand the Church from the Word of God.  They think any human being can found a church and indeed we see the proliferation of so-called churches everywhere.  St. Jude, like the Lord Jesus (cf. Matt 24:3-5, 11, 23-26) and the other Apostles (cf. Rom 16:17-18; 2Cor 11:12-15, 2Pet 2:1; 1John 2:18-19), warned us against this ugly trend, saying, “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:17-19).  Only God can found Church and He already did almost 2000 years ago.  Christ – as God – FOUNDED His Church through the Apostles (cf. Matt 16:18-19; 1Cor 3:10); it began at Pentecost, 33AD (cf. Acts 2); and has continued to SPREAD “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria [Rome, Greece, America, Nigeria] and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  There is no other church, “For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Cor 3:11).

The Old People of God, Israel, was founded upon twelve tribes, representing the twelve foundation stones (cf. Exod 28:21; Josh 4:3, 8-9; 1Kgs 18:31). Christ came to bring that reality to its fulfillment (cf. Matt 5:17; Rev 21:5) as a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exod 19:5-6); “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, God’s own people” (1Pet 2:9-10).  That is the New People of God (the Church, the New Israel).  Notice the degree of prayerful discernment in our Gospel Passage (Luke 6:12-16): “Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles.” Obviously, they represent the twelve foundation stones of the New Israel (cf. Rev 21:14).  Jesus said to Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH” (Matt 16:18). 

Accordingly, in our First Reading (Eph 2:19-22), St. Paul tells us how to belong to the Church Christ founded: “You are… members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” So we are not to make our own alternate foundations.  Make sure you and your family are attending the Church that came down from the Apostles; not a “church” founded in America originally, or in Nigeria, India, Britain, or anywhere else originally.  Belong to and participate in that original historical reality the Blessed Virgin Mary, Peter and the other Apostles and the Earliest Catholic Christians attended.  That is the only Church in the Bible. To this end, contrary to the trend amongst Evangelicals, it needs be said, Christ NEVER established any Church upon any couple.  There is no Husband and wife church anywhere in the Bible.  May God give us the grace to place our faith and trust in Him through His holy Church (cf. Matt 16:18; 28:20; Luke 10:16), through Christ our Lord. Amen.