ST JAMES THE APOSTLE (Feast) Red
Jesus nicknamed James and John, the sons of Zebedee “Boanerges” meaning “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17). They were natives of Galilee and fishermen when Jesus called them. James, John and Peter belonged to the three inner circles. They were with Jesus at the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, Jairus’ daughter, at the mountain of transfiguration and the agony in the garden. James was killed by the sword by King Agrippa (Acts 12:1-2).
First Reading: 2Cor 4:7-5; Psalm: 126. R. v. 5; Gospel: Mt 20:20-28
THE CUP OF SUFFERING
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
The mother of the two sons of Zebedee would make a wonderful politician. She has the acumen and craftiness. She knew how to play her cards, when to do it, and who to meet. Jesus was a popular figure, commanding great respect and fame. Carried away by these externalities, this woman came to Jesus secretly with her two sons and requested that he grant them the privilege to flank him in his kingdom. But Jesus said to her: “You do not know what you are asking.”
Obviously, she did not understand this reply of Jesus to her. Because no mother would wish his son or sons suffering, persecution and death. But this was what this woman was asking for. Although James and John were oblivious of the consequences of this choice, they answered in affirmation that they were ready to drink the chalice of suffering.
Jesus reiterates today that the way to heavenly glory is not an easy one. We need to experience the cross in order to experience the glory of heaven. James became the first apostle to experience martyrdom. King Herod Agrippa had James the brother of John killed by the sword (Acts 12:2). This was the chalice he wanted to drink, and indeed he drank it with delight. And today we celebrate him who sits in his rightful place in heaven. Are we ready to drink from the chalice of Christ’s suffering? If we are, then we will have to remain steadfast in our faith in every situation. For without this, we cannot have a place in heaven.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may our faith in you not fail even in the face of suffering and persecution. Amen.