Then the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she knelt down, to ask a favor. Jesus said to her, “What do you want?” And she answered, “Here, you have my two sons. Grant, that they may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said to the brothers, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We can.” Jesus replied, “You will indeed drink my cup; but to sit at my right or at my left is not for me to grant. That will be for those, for whom my Father has prepared it.”
The other ten heard all this, and were angry with the two brothers. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “You know, that the rulers of nations behave like tyrants, and the powerful oppress them. It shall not be so among you: whoever wants to be great in your community, let him minister to the community. And if you want to be the first of all, make yourself the servant of all. Be like the Son of Man, who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life to redeem many.”
The saint we are remembering today, James, the brother of John, was one of Jesus’ three favorite disciples, along with Peter. And, among the Twelve, he was the first to suffer martyrdom in the year 44.
We do not know much about James, except that he had a hot temper. Jesus nicknamed him and his brother John “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17). We also know that he was the quiet sort of man who rarely talks but whose feelings run deep. Although named 23 times in the New Testament, he is never presented as saying a single word by himself. However, the only two times that John speaks in his name, they ask for the wrong things (strike a Samaritan village with lightning, sit at Jesus’ side in the Kingdom) and Jesus corrects them both times. James was no doubt a blundering and foolish friend, but just the same he was a true friend, and Jesus loved him for that.
In a sense James is the patron saint of all those of us who make a lot of foolish mistakes but whose heart is in the right place. We can all be goofers, and we can still be among Jesus’ closest friends.
CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.
8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (02) 921-3984 • 922-00-11 • 921-28-59 Fax: (02) 921-6205, 927-7429
Bookstore: (02) 924-6835
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com