Learning to lead through service, St. James is a patron for us all
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. James (July 25, 2018): 2 COR 4:7-15; PS 126:1-2,2-3,3-5,6; 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.
The Gospel on this feast honoring St. James the Greater reveals just how petty and pretentious he and his brother St. John could be.
They let their mother petition Jesus that they have special honors in His Kingdom. When He questions them, the brothers assure Christ that they are willing to drink from the same cup that He does, without understanding what He is really saying. Our Lord tells them, “‘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.’ When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers” (Matthew 20:23-24). Jesus uses the opportunity to tell the Twelve that they must imitate Him in loving service, not by showing off.
James was one of the few chosen by Jesus for certain special experiences: the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, the Transfiguration, and their final evening in the Garden of Gethsemane. When the Apostles set out to preach the word of Christ and share the gift of salvation, it was James who became the first among them to be martyred. He is believed to have been beheaded in Jerusalem around 44 A.D.
Suggested missionary action: We can ask St. James to guide us when we feel resentment toward those who push themselves forward. And can ask the Holy Spirit to bless us with humility and the ability to forgive, even as we bravely stand up for what is right and just, not just for ourselves – but especially for others.