"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." — St. Augustine MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Some beginners, too,
"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." — St. Augustine
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Some beginners, too, make light of their faults, and at other times indulge in immoderate grief when they commit them. They thought themselves already saints, and so they become angry and impatient with themselves, which is another great imperfection. They also importune God to deliver them from their faults and imperfections, but it is only for the comfort of living in peace, unmolested by them, and not for God; they do not consider that, were He to deliver them, they would become, perhaps, prouder than ever." — St. John of the Cross, p. 9 AN EXCERPT FROM Dark Night of the Soul
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This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. "He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him" (Mark 1:19-20). James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani.
Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. "Jesus said in reply, 'You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?' They said to him, 'We can'" (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it "is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father" (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident "We can!"
The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life.
On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—"sons of thunder"—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. "When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?' Jesus turned and rebuked them..." (Luke 9:54-55).
James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. "About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also" (Acts 12:1-3a).
This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.
The way the Gospels treat the apostles is a good reminder of what holiness is all about. There is very little about their virtues as static possessions, entitling them to heavenly reward. Rather, the great emphasis is on the Kingdom, on God's giving them the power to proclaim the Good News. As far as their personal lives are concerned, there is much about Jesus' purifying them of narrowness, pettiness, fickleness.
"...Christ the Lord, in whom the entire revelation of the most high God is summed up (see 2 Corinthians 1:20; 3:16–4:6), having fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips the Gospel promised by the prophets, commanded the apostles to preach it to everyone as the source of all saving truth and moral law, communicating God's gifts to them. This was faithfully done: it was done by the apostles who handed on, by oral preaching, by their example, by their dispositions, what they themselves had received—whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or by coming to know it through the prompting of the Holy Spirit" (Vatican II, Constitution on Divine Revelation, 7).
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Responsorial Psalm PS 126:1BC-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6
R. (5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad indeed.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the torrents in the southern desert. Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, They shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Alleluia SEE JN 15:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 20:20-28
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, 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."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Jesus says that he did not come to be served but to serve. He wants me to use my talents to serve others. How available am I? The Ignatian motto is 'to love and serve in all things'. We are here to serve others – not to bask in comfort and power. The more good things come our way, the more we should serve the needy sisters and brothers of Jesus. Lord, give me a generous heart.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 20:26)
The custodian at the elementary school, Mr. Patton, is known for his hard work and upbeat attitude. "He cares about the building, he cares about the teachers, and he cares about the students," says one teacher.
Recently, Mr. Patton got a surprise when he found the entire school gathered in the gym to honor him. The children offered many touching tributes: "Not only does he clean stuff, but he always brightens our day with funny jokes. Thank you, Mr. Patton!" Caught completely off guard, the custodian was moved to tears.
Contrast Mr. Patton's demeanor with that of James, the saint whose feast we celebrate today. He wants to follow Jesus. But like his brother, John, he seems to be expecting some kind of acclaim for it—like a seat right beside Jesus in the restored Israel. But Jesus brings him down to earth. The real leader is the one who serves, and serving doesn't always bring the kind of recognition we'd like. For James, it meant decades spent evangelizing in Spain, followed by martyrdom.
Sometimes, our attitude toward service needs to be readjusted as well. It's natural to want to be noticed and praised, even though we know that God promises that the last will be first, and the first will be last. But even if we have mixed motives, it's better to go out and try our best to serve the Lord rather than waiting to be perfect. This is what James did; it's what all the apostles did. They didn't let their imperfections hold them back.
Don't worry if you find yourself having mixed feelings. Just keep serving, and let God sort things out over time. Know that everything you do is important to him—everything! Just keep dedicating yourself and your work to the Lord. Try to adopt Mother Teresa's practice of doing small things with great love. Even if there are times when you do small things with just a little bit of love, God will see it and bless it. Nothing is small to him—and neither are you.
"Thank you, Lord, for calling me into your service. Jesus, teach me how to lay down my life for you, just as James did."
We heard in today's 1st Holy Scripture "We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us." Included in this mailing are our new brothers in Christ in the Cursillo Movement. I say this to reflect on the treasure in our earthen vessel, our body, that was granted to us, God's grace, by means of your prayers, and by means of a willing spirit. I thank you for your prayers. The Lord knows it was good. "....so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." If the Lord appeared in the cursillo, He appeared in flesh, and He appeared in love and He appears in a most special form and bond, the Most Holy Scripture, manifested in the HOLY EUCHARIST. Saint Paul ends today with "Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God." And this Glory is what we are getting to, we get to give Glory to God, by our lives, by our love, Him through us, through Him we become a clear prism that illuminates life in colors, termed in cursillo...De Colores! We prayed today "Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing." And this is what happens when you let the tears flow (we prayed today) "our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing. " Recalling our cursillo ""The LORD has done great things for them." Indeed, the faith in its intercourse between yours and ours, makes all the difference in the world, my world and your world, and these worlds God cares about tremendously...do you? Sow in tears, and come back rejoicing!
In comes the Lord of our lives "Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" Can you drink of the precious blood of Christ? Can you share in His blood? His blood shedding? His blood sharing? Many people won't even donate blood, a most safe way to help save lives, much less in the spirit. And what is more important, the flesh or the spirit? It is though, our earthen vessels that carry the spirit. And what's more...we carry the Holy Spirit. Would you then give to the Holy Spirit? I gave a legend, of today's saint during my rollo (talk) in the cursillo, and I spoke about how in the legend of Saint James' death, he was taken to his sentencing, and he defended his faith powerfully, and the jailer guard was so convinced that he confessed his faith in Christ as well, and knelt next to Saint James to be beheaded as well. Our earthen vessels and spirit within must give testimony to God's love...our love of God. Enough with cowardice (sin). Enough with sloth, that of not wanting to lift a finger for the Lord. Enough with saying you have faith and that is enough (that you believe in a god). Because, although it may be true, you have not defined the god of your life...yourself or Him in Heaven. When Saint James and his brother asked the Lord, "do you want us to call fire down from heaven to consume these non-believers that rejected us?" (I'm paraphrasing) Jesus said no. Jesus wants fire, yes, but HIS fire, not our fire. HIS grace, HIS way, HIS LOVE, not yours. His love that busts through jail cells and people's living hell. The Lord has called you for reading this....to this Love of the Father, Our Father, and to serve Him in mind, body, spirit and soul...with every bit of it, and I'm encouraging you to do so now