Simon is called `the Zealot,’ either because he was zealous for the Jewish law or because he was a member of the Zealot party, which in the time of Jesus sought to overthrow Roman domination by force.
Some of Jesus’ followers, the Gospels indicate, were hardly pacifists. Peter was ready to use his sword in the garden of Gethsemani when the temple guards came to seize Jesus; James and John told Jesus to call down fire from heaven on the hostile Samaritans whom they met on their journey to Jerusalem.
Simon, therefore, may thought of revolution when he answered Jesus’ call .
Jude, called `Thaddeus’ to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, may be the brother of James, the son of Alphaeus, some interpreters of the Gospel say. If that’s so, he’s also a relative of Jesus. He may be the author of the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament.
Early Christian traditions – all difficult to prove historically – locate the ministry of these apostles in places as far apart as Britain and Persia; one important legend from 3rd century Syria says they were apostles to Syria. If so, we ask their intercession for that troubled place today.
Knowing little about Simon and Jude may be a good thing, because then we have to look to their mission to know them –they were apostles.
The mission of the apostles was to follow Jesus. “ ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ Jesus says in the Gospel of John. He also said “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”
God made his will known to the apostles in due time. They didn’t decide what to do or where to go by themselves. They knew God’s will day by day, as we do. So often, it was unexpected and perhaps not what they planned.
“Your will be done,” we say in the Lord’s Prayer. That’s an apostle’s prayer. We try to make it our prayer too.