Today, February 18th, the universal Church celebrates and honors St. Simeon, one of the apostles of Jesus, who was a bishop and a martyr.
Pursuant to the Form of the Roman Rite, the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII, today is the Feast Day of St. Simeon, who was a relative [a cousin] of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His father was Cleophas, who was the brother of St. Joseph.
After St. James the Lesser was viciously martyred, Simeon was elected as the apostle to replace him, serving as the bishop in the See of Jerusalem, being in this capacity for approximately 40 years. Indeed and in fact, he was the first bishop of Jerusalem, serving the people of the Church there with steadfastness, wisdom and great love.
The horrible siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans took place during his episcopacy, wherein he accompanied his community to Pella to survive during this terrible time.
Ultimately, under the rule of the Roman emperor Trajan, Simeon was arraigned before the governor, Atticus, on charges of being a Christian and a relative of Jesus. The latter-mentioned criminal charge arose from a practice that all descendants of David were apprehended because of their lineage. Having been found guilty of both criminal charges, he was subject to all manner of torture. It is extremely noteworthy that at this time, it is said that he was 120 years of age, an extremely old man. Yet, he endured such horrible suffering. Finally, he was crucified just as Our Lord was crucified.
Once again, we are reminded how an apostle, St. Simeon, helped us to know Jesus by his determined service to the Christian community in Jerusalem wherein he was a leader, their bishop, for 40 years. And of course, we are again reminded how St. Simeon endured such horrible torture and ultimately, the excruciating death method of crucifixion. He serves as a formidable example and model to us of loyalty, enthusiasm, leadership and love. We cannot and we must not ignore the saints, the Church Triumphant, for to do so, would be an ultimate insult to Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom they served. We thank you Dearest Lord Jesus Christ for St. Simeon, and we will remember what he did for you and for the Christian community.
St. Simeon, pray for us!
With respect and love,
Sources: Vatican website; catholiconline