The need for those who would lead in His name to serve...
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. James (July 25, 2020): 2 COR 4:7-15; PS 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6; MT 20:20-28
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
St. James the Greater was the brother of St. John and, along with St. Peter, they were the three Apostles closest to Jesus. Yet, as we see in today’s Gospel reading, this did nothing to prevent a sense of entitlement and a desire for preference in the two brothers. Their mother asked Jesus to give them special rank and privilege in His kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?’ They said to Him, ‘We can.’ He replied, ‘My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at My right and at My left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father’” (Matthew 20:22-23). This situation angered the rest of the Apostles. Certainly none of them understood how foolish they all were in their very human and worldly thinking. So Jesus used the moment to teach them that among His followers, true leaders must be humble servants. Only after His death and rising again would they really grasp all He had taught them.
It is thought that after Pentecost James went to Spain to spread the Good News. By 44 A.D. he was back in Jerusalem where he became the first martyr among the Apostles when he was beheaded at King Herod’s command. At some point, the body of St. James is believed to have been returned to Spain where he has long been venerated as the country’s patron. His shrine at Santiago de Compostela became the most famous pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. And the walking paths from various places throughout Europe to the shrine remain popular today. Many who want to share prayer, penance, and camaraderie as they express their faith in Jesus still walk together on this journey known often called The Way.
Suggested missionary action: Let us turn to St. James when we want help in overcoming pride. Let us ask his help in growing in humility and a desire to serve rather than to be served, and to walk in the footsteps of Christ our Lord wherever He takes us.