Friday, July 25, 2014

Saint James

The apostle Saint James
We can easily say that St. James was at least Jesus’ third favorite apostle. Why? When Jesus raised Jairus' daughter when all thought her dead, he only allowed James, John, and Peter to come with him. Even more important when he went up to the mountain to pray, he wanted James, John, and Peter to go with him. And it was there on the mountain they were privileged to witness what no one else had seen -- Jesus transfigured in his glory, speaking to Moses and Elijah. And with Simon Peter, James and John were the only ones of the apostles that Jesus gave a special name: Sons of Thunder.
It's no wonder then that James, along with John, felt that he had the right to go to Jesus and ask him to give them whatever they asked. When their mother asked Jesus to give them preferential treatment, they didn't see the cross in his future, but an earthly throne. But despite all these misunderstandings, it was still James, Peter, and John that Jesus chose to join him in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane for his final prayer before his arrest. It must have hurt Jesus that the three of them fell asleep on this agonizing evening.

Inside the Cathedral of Santiago de Campostela
James did drink of the cup Jesus drank of, all too shortly after the Resurrection. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that James was one of the first martyrs of the Church. King Herod Agrippa killed him with a sword in an early persecution of the Church. There is a story that the man who arrested James became a convert after hearing James speak at his trial and was executed with him. James is called James the Greater because another younger apostle was named James. St James evangelized in Spain before he died and the cult of St James in Santiago de Campostela is well known as people make a long pilgrimage to visit his Cathedral in northwest Spain.

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