†Saint Quote "Quote of the Day "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." –St. Augustine
†Today's Meditation "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
†Daily Verse "O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for thee. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble." –Isaiah 33:2
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St. James the Greater
St. James the Greater (died 44 AD) is the brother of St. John the Apostle, and was one of Jesus's original 12 Apostles. The title "Greater" was added to distinguish him from St. James the Lesser, and is believed not to concern status or holiness, but physical height. Besides being the son of Zebedee, what is known of St. James's life comes after he and his brother were called to leave their father and their nets and follow after Jesus. James was one of the three apostles invited to witness the miraculous Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. As well, his righteous anger at seeing a Samaritan town reject Jesus inspired him to ask Jesus to call down fire on the town, which Jesus gently rebuked. Following Christ's Resurrection and Ascension, James preached the Gospel across the Roman empire before traveling to Spain, where he spread the Gospel for many years. The famous "Camino de Santiago" pilgrimage path in Spain is named in his honor (Santiago is Spanish for James). At the end of his life, James returned to Jerusalem, where he was the first apostle to be martyred. His feast day is July 25th.
Feast of Saint James, Apostle
Reading 1 2 COR 4:7-15
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 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."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 20:20-28
Can you drink the chalice? (Matthew 20:22)
Do you remember the story in Luke's Gospel when James and his brother, John, asked Jesus a pointed question? It didn't end well. Reacting to the way a village of Samaritans had rejected Jesus, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" (Luke 9:54). Such a request earned a rebuke from Jesus.
A similar scene plays out in today's Gospel. This time the brothers had their mother ask in their place: "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left" (Matthew 20:21). Perhaps they thought she was a more sympathetic figure. Or perhaps they wanted to hide their true motives. But Jesus saw through the ruse and addressed the brothers directly: "You do not know what you are asking" (20:22).
If James had never moved beyond these failed attempts at glory, we wouldn't be celebrating his feast day today. But there's so much more to his story. The mere fact that he stuck with Jesus speaks volumes in itself! He didn't let his missteps or Jesus' rebukes discourage him. Instead, he let them produce in him the humility and openness to the Spirit that is the hallmark of every saint.
Tradition tells us that after Pentecost, James traveled as far as Spain bringing the good news to thousands of people before returning to Jerusalem. James became such an effective evangelist that he captured even King Herod's attention—and his wrath (Acts 12:1-2). Just as Jesus had foretold, James did indeed drink "the chalice" that Jesus drank (Matthew 20:22). Like his Lord, he embraced the call not to be served "but to serve and to give his life" for the gospel (20:28).
So as you celebrate St. James today, remember how he started out. Remember how patient Jesus was with him, and remember how persistent James was. Then think about your own life. There's still room for you to become more like the Lord. And there's still more that Jesus wants to do in you and through you. Your story isn't over yet!
"Jesus, help me to follow you even more closely today."
2 Corinthians 4:7-15 Psalm 126:1-6
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us."
What treasure? It is Christ, the Holy Spirit of God Himself. What earth vessel? You are made of earth. Mother Mary was the first vessel of Christ Himself.
And so, the life spark is within us, He animates everything, it is His will.
We pray in Psalms: "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. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing"
In today's Gospel we heard our Lord: _"'Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave."
This Gospel is perplexing to one who is considering the life and the way of Christ.
From Bishop Barron: "Friends, today in our Gospel, the mother of James and John asks Jesus on their behalf for high places of authority in his kingdom. Ah, there is the voice of ambition. Some people don't care at all about money or power or pleasure—but they care passionately about honor. A lot of people can identify with James and John. They want to go places; they want to be movers and shakers in society. Perhaps a number of people reading this reflection are filled with these emotions. But Jesus turns the tables on them: "You do not know what you are asking." He is indeed a King, and he will indeed rule Israel, but his crown will be made of thorns, and his throne will be a Roman instrument of torture. And so he tries to clarify: "Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?" The key to honor in the kingdom of God is to drink the cup of suffering, to be willing to suffer out of love, to give one's life away as a gift. Look at the lives of the saints. It is not about aggrandizing the ego, but emptying it out." .........
Can you empty yourself out? As for me, I have trouble emptying myself out. I strive to serve God with humility, and this is giving glory to God. But boy, it is not always easy. If it were easy, everybody would do it. Therefore, I see many problems, at home, at church, at work, and all the places I know...because we dare not become slaves of God. And to become a slave of God is to become a slave of Love, and to love is to give, not to ask for favors, but to give one way, and this is called sacrifice. The world wants us to love only those who can love back. And so, the elderly are forgotten, those with mental problems, and the unborn. But we are called to love those who cannot love back...even...your enemies.
Lord, we need You in our earthen vessels more and more each day. Come fill us with Your light and Your love.
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