Jude, the Good Apostle
The name Jude was prominent not only in the Bible but in novels, song lyrics, and family homes throughout the ages for over two thousand years. But there was only one Jude who was a saint.
There were two apostles of the same name, both capable of English translations as Jude. One was the infamous Judas who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and committed suicide shortly after receiving his pay from the religious leaders of the city of Jerusalem. The other was called by the shorter version of the same name, Jude, and was the author of a letter contained in the New Testament.
There's a possibility that Jude also was the same as the apostle Thaddaeus, which would have been another name for the same person. Saint Jude is famous for many reasons including Saint Jude's hospital for children with cancer and a prominent patron saint of one of the most popular soccer teams in Brazil.
Many people pray to Saint Jude especially in situations that seem hopeless. He is the patron saint of lost causes.
Like almost all of the early disciples and apostles, Jude was a devoutly religious Jew, as was Jesus Himself. It is fitting that Saint Jude is remembered for trying to help those in need and people who were suffering. This even to the current day is a great trait and highly placed value among the Jewish people in America and elsewhere.
After Jesus' death, Jude spread the gospel in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Libya. He detected some disgraceful people who had infiltrated into the newly founded Christian religion and spoke harshly of them in his one short epistle, comparing them to all the villanous characters he could think of from the Old Testament.
This letter is about all we have of anything ever written by Jude. He was not prominently featured in the gospels either. But he was part of Jesus' inner circle of apostles.
One of the most famous songs of the late 1960's was the Beatles' "Hey Jude," which did not have any connection with Saint Jude but instead was a kindly song written by one Beatle to another Beatle's son, whose name was close to the word Jude (Jules Lennon).
Although the lack of Jude's recorded activities makes him somewhat obscure, he's not the Jude who was the main character of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure," a novel about the life and sexual relations of a man named Jude. The book was considered obscene when published in the late 1800's and was publicly burned by British clergy.
But the real Saint Jude was a crusader for Christianity, despite the fact that the only letter we have from him was one of negativity against enemies of the church. The ungodly and disrespectful people criticized in that letter had characteristics found in society today.
On Sundays and other holy days such as Saturdays, the literal sabbath, people seem much friendlier than during the normal work week. To each human being there is a secular side and a spiritual side. The secular plays the game of money during the work week; the spiritual uplifts the individual's ideals during moments more peaceful.
But when people have their backs to the wall and all seems lost, a prayer can do no harm. This thought is dedicated to the patron of lost causes, Saint Jude.