It’s the Feast of St. James the Apostle–James the son of Zebedee (Yaakov Bar Zebdi), brother of John and one the closest 3 Apostles to Jesus. Because of their impetuousness and zeal Jesus nicknamed the two brothers—Boanerges, “sons of thunder” (They wanted to call down fire from heaven to annihilate a Samaritan town that refused to welcome Jesus!).
On another occasion, their mom asked Jesus if her two sons could sit at His left and right in His kingdom. This question comes right after Jesus just announced his imminent death! Jesus patiently tells James and John, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” St. Matthew records:
They said to him, “We are able.”
He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant
and whoever would be first among you must be your slave;
even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
James the fisherman from Galilee left everything and followed Jesus—even to death as a martyr. He drank of the cup of Christ’s Passion. He went the way of a servant and is now great for it. After being empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Apostle James preached in Judea and then to the end of the world—Galicia, the northwestern most part of Spain dubbed by the Romans ‘finis terrae’ (end of the world).
St. James was martyred in Jerusalem by King Herod in 44 A.D. It is believed that his body was miraculously was transported back to the place he evangelized. The tomb containing his relics is in Spain–at Santiago de Compostela (St. James of the field of stars), which is a famous Shrine and pilgrimage site. The traditional pilgrimage routes to the Shrine are called the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). He is Patron saint of Spain.
The next world youth Day in 2011 will be in Spain.
St. James pray for us that we might be faithful followers of Jesus Christ and persevere in bearing good fruit. Greatness lies in being a servant. Amen.