The first Apostle to die for faith in Christ
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. James (July 25, 2019): 2 COR 4:7-15; PS 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6; MT 20:20-28
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this feast of St. James, we honor an apostle of Jesus who was also a brother of St. John.
Called in the Gospels the Sons of Thunder, the two men were Galilean fishermen who were among the first selected by Christ to follow Him. And, along with St. Peter, they were the closest to our Lord during His public ministry and privileged to be present at several miraculous events that the rest of the Apostles did not witness. James, John and Peter saw the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and the raising of Jairus’s daughter, as well as the Transfiguration. They also accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before His passion and death.
After the Ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, James, like his fellow Apostles, became a missionary. It’s traditionally believed that he traveled to Spain, where he shared Our Savior’s message of hope and redemption. “We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.…We who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:7, 11). According to the Acts of the Apostles, he returned to Jerusalem where he was martyred around 44 AD. St. James was the first of the Twelve to lay down his life for our Savior.