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June 2: Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading Jude 17,20-25
Gospel Mark 11:27-33

Beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our First Reading at weekday Mass this week has come from the First Letter of St. Peter, at least until this morning’s Mass. Next Monday our First Reading will begin to come from the Second Letter of St. Peter. This morning’s First Reading is from the Letter of St. Jude, which is only one chapter long, and which within the New Testament is the next to the last book.

Who is the Jude who authored this letter? At the beginning of the letter he identifies himself as “a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James”. Yet within the letter, the author’s words seem to exclude him from being one of the apostles, for he exhorts his listeners to “remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they told you....” Surely Jude wouldn’t have spoken about the apostles in the third person if he were one of them.

Nonetheless, Jude’s letter testifies—as do all the New Testament letters—to the centrality of apostolic teaching within the Church. “Beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude doesn’t simply say, “Remember the words spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ.” The teaching of the apostles is vital to the proclamation of the Gospel. In turn, the teachings of the successors of the apostles in our own day must be given due respect.