Read the daily quote from Pope Francis

 

2016 DF 44

Dear Friends,

One of the least read books of the New Testament is the Epistle of St. Jude.  It is only 25 verses long and comes before the great Book of Revelation.  The first part of the letter warns against “pseudo-teachers” or those who are a part of the Christian Community and yet stubbornly hold on to their former sinful ways, teaching others by bad example.  The second part of the letter is a reminder that we are to hold to the authentic teaching of the Apostles and maintain the purity of the Faith even at the cost of suffering.

It is widely held that this is the same St. Jude that the Catholic Church honors with the title, “Saint of Impossible Cases.”  St. Jude Thaddeus was martyred in Persia with the apostle St. Simon.  He is often shown in art with a tongue of fire over his head, a reminder of the life changing moment when he received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the upper room with Mary and the other apostles. 

In his epistle, St Jude writes, “Remember, beloved, all of you, the prophetic words of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they kept telling you, ‘In the last days there will be impostors living by their godless passions,’  These sensualists, devoid of the Spirit, are causing divisions among you.

But you beloved, grow strong in your holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit.  Persevere in God’s love, and welcome the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which leads to life eternal.  Correct those who are confused; the others you must rescue, snatching them from the fire.  Even with those you pity, be on your guard; abhor so much as their flesh-stained clothing.”

The “sensualists” that St Jude speaks of are those people who have given themselves over to ungodly lusts without fear of God or the loss of their salvation.  In other words they have compromised their faith with their sin.  For some lust will remain a cross for a lifetime but the key to salvation is to struggle and never give up hope. 

Sinners though we are, we still proclaim our Catholic faith and our belief in God.  Perhaps as sinners we have a patience, tenderness and compassion for others who struggle to remain in God.  So as St. Jude says we must not cease to correct and to rescue.  The truth is truth no matter who says it!  What kind of parent would teach a son or daughter to be dishonest because he or she lies?   Even in our weakness we know good from evil and in our love for others we should not fail to teach the difference.

And some good advice from St. Jude: be compassionate but don’t lose your own way.  We bring the light of Christ that saved us to others and we must remain faithful to that light.  Our own light should not dim in the presence of sin but shine even more brightly as it helps another.  The fire of truth made Jude a great apostle and did not keep him from preaching Christ even when not welcomed for his words.  May he intercede for us that we may be humble but truthful servants of the Lord.  Fr Al