WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR
A Note for the 2024 Theme
Every year, St. Jude Apostolate presents a central theme to guide the reflections for the year. For 2024, our central theme shall be:
FOR I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES… (Job 19:25).
Our theme comes against the background of our multiple troubled world and the poor innocent victims of our the world unjust structures. The Book of Job is a compelling dramatic poem which treats the problem of the suffering of the innocent, and of retribution. Job, an oriental chieftain, pious and upright, rich in his own person and in domestic prosperity, suffered a sudden and complete reversal of fortune. He lost his property and children; a detestable disease afflicted his body; and sorrow oppressed his soul. In spite of all these loss and pressure from his three friends, Job never lost faith in Yahweh. God’s answer, to Job’s plea that he be allowed to see God and hear from Him the cause of his suffering, was no explanation but questions that re-echo His Omniscience and Omnipotence. Job was content with God’s response in his attitude of humility and trust, deepened and strengthened by his experience of suffering.
- Like Job, we learn that although a just person may suffer here, his sufferings are a test of his fidelity. In the end, his reward is sure both in this life and in the next.
- Like Job, we learn that man’s limited mind cannot probe the depths of divine infinite knowledge which governs the world. And that God’s ways are certainly not our ways.
- Like Job, we learn that the problems we encounter can be solved by a broader and deeper awareness of God’s power, presence (Job 19:25; 42:5), and wisdom.
So, the root cause of all human sorrow is ignorance – lack of knowledge of God and self. St Thomas Aquinas said that “Man’s most urgent need is to know truths about God.”
The Knowledge of God that evokes hope is beyond external sensible knowledge, ie., abstraction from sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Lower animals have the same external sensible knowledge and also abstract from their senses. Rather, The Knowledge of God that evokes hope is within, internal sensible cognition of common sense, memory, imagination and the instinct of estimation, knowledge of good and evil. This Knowledge of God is relationship. This knowledge, says Jesus, is Eternal life (John 17:3); My people perish for want of this knowledge (Hosea 4:6); Those who behave stupidly are those who do not know Yahweh’s way or the ruling of their God (Jeremiah 5:4); On the Cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they Know Not what they are doing” Luke 23:34. For me, as I begin the year 2024, my prayer is the ejaculative prayer of St Francis of Assisi: “Lord, that I may know you and that I may know myself.”
The three symbols in the picture of St Jude Thaddeus patron of hopeless cases will guide us in 2024 to progress within the frame of the knowledge of the Living God:
1) THE IMAGE OF JESUS that St Jude carries, constantly draws us to contemplate the image of the unseen God in PRAYER (John 14:9, to have seen me is to have seen the Father);
2) THE FLAME on St Jude’s head, constantly reminds us of ACTION in the Holy Spirit, whom is The Love in God. This action began at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:3), The first fruit of the Holy Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22). And St Paul in Romans 13:8 singled out Love as the only debt we should owe to one another. Love is the fire that a Christian should be enkindled with;
3) THE STAFF in the hand of St Jude, constantly reminds us of the ultimate witnessing of martyrdom of which St Jude Thaddeus was clubbed to death in about 65AD. Our readiness for ultimate witness is the cup of glory that Jesus demanded form James and John in Mark 10:39; John 21:18-19.
As we deepen our devotion to St Jude Thaddeus in 2024, The Apostolate shall make available for us the new edition of ST. JUDE TREASURY, which was last published over twenty years ago. We shall also make available and actively promote ST. JUDE CHAPLET, which could be used as a Novena Prayer in the nine days preceding the October 28th Feast Day of St Jude or at any time when an urgent favor is requested. Our Patron Saint of hopeless causes never fails to uplift our requests, especially in times of greatest need, when you face a situation of desperate and impossible cause. We pray and invoke the miraculous intervention of God to our needs since, as St Thomas Aquinas said, “the sensible effects of God do not equal the power of God as their cause.” May we all connect ourselves and families physically, virtually, and spiritually to the six Novenas of the year. Never deny yourself of these moments of deep and touching reflections on the Word of God, moments of inflow of spiritual gifts, moments of intimate encounter with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, moments of healing and deliverance from the powers of the evil one. As you journey with St Jude Thaddeus in 2024, you will certainly testify personally like Job: “FOR I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES”.