Jul 25 – Feast of Saint James, Apostle
Son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of Saint John the Apostle, and may have been Jesus’ cousin. He is called “the Greater” simply because he became an Apostle before Saint James the Lesser. Apparent disciple of Saint John the Baptist. Fisherman. He left everything when Christ called him to be a fisher of men. Was present during most of the recorded miracles of Christ. Preached in Samaria, Judea, and Spain. First Apostle to be martyred.
The pilgrimage to his relics in Compostela became such a popular devotion that the symbols of pilgrims have become his emblems, and he became patron of pilgrims. His work in Spain, and the housing of his relics there, led to his patronage of the country and all things Spanish; for centuries, the Spanish army rode to battle with the cry “Santiago!” (“Saint James!”)
Like all men of renown, many stories grew up around James. In one, he brought back to life a boy who had been unjustly hanged, and had been dead for five weeks. The boy‘s father was notified of the miracle while he sat at supper. The father pronounced the story nonsense, and said his son was no more alive than the roasted fowl on the table; the cooked bird promptly sat up, sprouted feathers, and flew away.
– The Patron Saint Index
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.
The mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’
When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
“… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many;”
Personal protection services. In the past I used to wonder if I actually had the mettle to put my body on the line for someone. I often watch it on TV and think to myself, “Yes, that is the absolutely right thing to do, I would have done it myself!”. But a few days later, I wonder if that is really true, after the cinematography effects have worn out. I wonder what fear goes through the mind of a bodyguard in that situation even with all that training which makes them instinctively use their body as a shield.
What about something a little closer to home which could actually happen, for example, standing in front of someone experiencing a knife attack? If you ask me, it actually sounds more scary than taking a bullet. Maybe we might, for someone we love, to prevent their suffering. But Jesus says if we love those who love us, what good is that.
Post-reversion me thinks of this same scenario in a slightly different context, although I don’t think it’s different at all. Would I put my life on the line to prevent desecration to the Body of Christ? (Think immediate martyrdom) Again, I wouldn’t know how crippled by fear I might be. But I suppose if we do know Jesus well enough, it would be an action worth taking and I can think of many saints who would have done it.
So if we truly believe in the true presence of Our Lord and Saviour in the Eucharist, then it would be an act of infinite merit. What was it to Jesus that he should sacrifice His life for ours? Didn’t He give us our life to begin with? I don’t recall ever actually being required to give anything to God, it is my free response that would please him with adding anything to His glory. There was nothing in it for Him to ransom His own life for us and yet He did. And some of those He did it for still turn away from Him today.
So how do we then, willingly and freely, be a slave to others and in doing so reflect the person of Jesus to those we meet? I think we can every single day if we start with the less scary things and not think about giving up our lives just yet.
Can we sacrifice our own opinions and ideas for the greater good of our communities, ministries, organizations, and even families?
Can we give way to the guy trying to cut into the filter lane at the last moment because he was too impatient to get in line?
Can we choose to stand up and defend the person who is being backstabbed in the office while on MC?
Can we lay aside our pride and admit to our spouse that we were in fact wrong and ask for forgiveness?
Can we wash the dishes after dinner, even if it was us who bought or cooked dinner?
The news is very often depressing. How about we show a little bit of Christ and try to put ourselves on the line sometimes and just maybe, when the chance comes to really take one for Jesus, it won’t seem so foreign; because then, we would know so much more, how He feels.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daryl De Payva)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I choose your way, starting from the simplest things so that when the bigger test comes, I will be ready. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for giving me these chances and choices every single day that I may practice to be more like you.