2Cor 4:7-15; Mt 20:20-28
Today we celebrate the feast of St. James the Great, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman from Galilee, and Salome, a pious woman. His younger brother was John the Evangelist.
St. James, the brother St. John, is called “the Greater” because he followed the Lord Jesus Christ before the other apostle of the same name (see May 3); first of the Twelve to be martyred.
St. James the Great and his brother John were fishing with their father Zebedee when Jesus invited them to follow Him on His ministry (Matthew 4:19). Right there and then, they left their father and followed Jesus.
They were called Boanerges (son of thunder) by Jesus because of their impulsiveness. When a Samaritan town did not receive Jesus, the brothers suggested that He should call down fire from heaven to consume it. Jesus reprimanded them for vengeful attitude.
James was chosen to be one of the 12 apostles and was given the mission to spread the Good News of the Lord and the authority to heal and cast out demons. He was also among the three who were the familiar companions of Jesus Christ, the other two being Peter and John.
The request of the mother of St. James the Great and John angered the other ten apostles but Jesus used the opportunity to teach all of them that in order to be great one must be a servant.
St. James the Great was the first apostle to die as a martyr. During the persecution under King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44, St. James was captured and condemned to death. It was said that the man who arrested James was so impressed by his courage that he became a convert. He spoke at his trial and was executed with him.
Today, as we celebrate the Feast of St. James the Great, let us all desire a place in the Kingdom of our Father. Let us follow the example of St. James who willingly left everything to follow Jesus and spread the Good News of the Lord and to convert sinners. We should always remember that despite our weaknesses, Jesus loves us.
See Today’s Readings: Feast of Saint James, apostle
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