Gospel Reading: Lk 6:12-16
Jesus went up 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: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, 16and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
SIMON WHO WAS CALLED A ZEALOT
A zealot (Greek zelotes) is one who shows zeal and enthusiasm. One of the disciples Jesus has chosen to be Apostles, Simon is called by this name not just because he is a “zealous” observer of the Mosaic Law but, as most biblical scholars believe, because he is a member of a Jewish sect called the Zealots. Like most Jews, the Zealots believe in the coming of the Messiah but mostly for the recovery of Jewish independence from Roman power. The acceptance of foreign domination and the payment of taxes to a foreign ruler are, for them, an abomination to the Lord. They attack foreigners and Jews whom they suspect of collaboration with the Roman officials. Some of them are called Sicarri (“stabbers”) from their practice of concealing a dagger underneath their garments and stabbing their enemies in crowded areas. The Zealots will be chiefly responsible for the outbreak of rebellion against Rome in 66 AD. Jerusalem will fall in 70 AD, but the Zealots will survive long enough to rise up again in the Jewish Second Revolt of 132-135 AD. Whether he is one of the Zealots or has zeal for the Mosaic Law, Simon has no love for Matthew, a tax collector, a collaborator of the Romans. Yet, in following Jesus, the disciples “leave everything behind,” including their affiliations and their outlook. Now, they must learn from Jesus, live together despite their differences, and focus on the proclamation of the Kingdom.
Does your relationship with Jesus help you to accept other people who are different from you?
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