What is interesting about St Simon is that he was a Zealot. The Zealots were a Jewish religious party that believed in changing the world through political activism even to the point of revolution. They were the liberation theologians of their day. The peace and justice crowd who reduce religion to some ideological agenda to change the world.
The delicious irony is that he comes at the end of the list of apostles and is remembered along with St Jude–errr–the patron saint of lost causes. Every movement that reduces religion to political activism is doomed for the poor you shall have with you always, and the tyrants you will have with you always. Furthermore, all political causes are bound to be lost in the long run because they are all founded on some temporary political or cultural phenomenon. Once that phenomenon fades their reason to be is taken away.
Don’t get me wrong. We need to work for peace and justice. We need to embrace the poor and work to rid the world of poverty and the causes of poverty. It’s what we do–not because we believe we will succeed, but because we believe that we can at least help a few poor people who are suffering and help some souls turn their lives and their families lives around. We help them not because we think we can change the world, but because we hope we can change their world.
And for all his mis guided political activism, Jesus still chose Simon for an apostle. I’m sure that as he went about his apostolic ministry he came to realize that being zealous for souls was the far greater calling, and that with his brother St Jude, that even though his cause might be lost his soul would not be.