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