Monday, July 25, 2011

Feast of St. James, Apostle

Today is the Feast of St. James, the first of the 12 Apostles to become a Martyr, and one of the four patrons of Equestrians. (The other three are Anne, George, and Martin of Tours.)

In his listing of the 12 Apostles, Mark places James and his brother John second only to Peter, and tells us that Jesus gave the two brothers a special nickname: "James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17)

Peter, James, and John are the three disciples who accompanied Jesus at the Transfiguration.
(Matthew 17:1-9,  Mark 9:1-9,  Luke 9:28-36)
Today's Gospel (Matthew 20:20-28) recounts the story of how James and John sent their mother to ask Jesus if they could sit at His right and His left in the kingdom. This led to a teaching on discipleship and on Jesus' mission:  "Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26-28)

Almighty Father, 
by the martyrdom of St. James 
you blessed the work of the early Church.
May his profession of faith give us courage
and his prayers bring us strength.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. 
-Prayer for the Feast of St. James

And I also ask your blessing, St. James, on all who live under your patronage, whether by name or by profession. Obtain for them from God the graces that they need this day and all the days of their lives.  Amen.

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