Today is the feast day of two almost-anonymous apostles, Saint Simon and St. Jude. Both were among the 12 chosen by Jesus to spread His word. But today they are nearly-forgotten. The Bible includes a short letter of Jude’s, written to the church at Ephesus. Some say both Simon and Jude were martyred, but we don’t even know that for sure; the tradition in the Eastern church is that Simon died peacefully. Jude is the patron saint of desperate causes because his letter is a plea to the Ephesians to remain faithful to Jesus even in difficult circumstances. And that’s about all we know about these two.
In reality, most of us will pass out of this world with even less fanfare than Simon and Jude. With faith, we might manage to help a little old lady across the street here or there. With perseverance, we might even live saintly lives, running the good race as Paul puts it. But in all likelihood, no matter how good a life we live, the world won’t make a huge fuss over us when we pass away. Our families and our communities will miss us, but no matter how beloved we are, two or three generations from now we will be just another old photograph of a rather oddly-dressed man or woman from the stone ages of the early 21st century. Time has a tremendous thinning effect on memories. And that’s okay. We were not put here to “make a name for ourselves.” We were put here to make life a little easier for others. To serve, not to shine.
So don’t despair if you’ve been putting your heart and soul into your family, school, job or community, but they haven’t named a street after you yet. Don’t give up being a decent human being just because the rest of humanity hasn’t given you so much as a thumbs up. Think of Simon and Jude. They had the thrill of hearing Jesus’ words right from His mouth, they worked miracles and grew the church that we all know, but today nobody knows who they were. But God knows. And He remembers.