Today we celebrate the Feast of St. James. This James is the son of Zebedee and the brother of St. John the Apostle. He is often known as James “The Greater,” only because he is mentioned first (before the other James) in the listing of the Apostles. Our first reading is from 2 Corinthians 4. I hope you’ll take the time to read it. It is beautiful. The Gospel reading is from Matthew 20, where the mother of James and John asks Jesus if her two sons can sit at his right and left when he comes into his kingdom.
St. Paul says “For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus.” One of the traits of a Christian is that we must be willing to die to ourselves. This is one of the things that early pagan historians marveled about concerning the first generation of Christians. They looked after the needs of one another. They had everything in common. And they were willing to die for their faith.
As with all the Apostles, St. James exhibited these traits. Tradition tells us that he died a martyr, probably around the year 42. He knew his calling, and was willing to give up his very life to fulfill that calling. We are called to die to self, and imitate the faith of St. James.
Father, forgive us for those times when we think only of ourselves. Teach us how to die to self, that we may truly live. Amen.
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