Today the church celebrates the FEAST of St. James the Apostle. James was a fisherman… who … along with his brother John … was among the first four to respond to the call of Jesus to follow Him. James became part of Jesus’ inner circle … we read about him as part of the trio of Peter, James and John during key events in the life and ministry of Jesus. James was the first of the 12 apostles to suffer martyrdom for the sake of the Gospel.
Today’s Gospel emphasizes that true Christian leadership is service to others. The first reading is a powerful statement of trust in God … reminding us that Christ’s message is communicated through plain … ordinary … often weak … and very human individuals.
James wasn’t perfect … but he was faithful in … discipleship … and his service to others.
Gospel accounts tell us that James was privileged to witness the Transfiguration … he was present at the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and the raising of the daughter of Jairus. After the Last Supper … he was one of the three who were called … and went along to watch and pray with Jesus in Gethsemane.
Though privileged as he was … he was probably headstrong or impulsive … in one place Jesus called him “son of thunder” … and when Jesus and the apostles were denied hospitality by the Samaritans … James encouraged Jesus to call down fire from heaven on them. Not a mark of a patient man!
James also vied for position in the kingdom … asking to have a high place … and today … his mother asking the same.
So … not perfect … but certainly chosen … St. James is a model of how we can grow in our love and trust in God.
May we follow his example.