July 25, 2016

James

July 25, 2016:  St. James, Apostle

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia capsule
Love is not boastful

The following word, περπερεύεται, denotes vainglory, the need to be haughty, pedantic, pushy.  Those who love are focused on others; they don't need to be the center of attention. The next word, φυσιοῦται, is similar; love is not arrogant.  We don't become “puffed up.”  It also points to obsession with showing off and losing your sense of reality, thinking that because you're more “spiritual” or “wise,” you're more important.  Paul says “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”  Some think they're important because they're more knowledgeable, but what really makes us important is love that understands, shows concern, and embraces the weak.  The word is used to criticize those “inflated” with their own importance but are filled more with empty words than the Spirit's power.
Christians must show love in how they treat family members less knowledgeable about the faith, weak, or less sure in their convictions, but sometimes, supposedly mature believers become arrogant.  Love, however, is humble; if we're to understand, forgive, and serve, our pride has to be healed and our humility increased.  Jesus told his disciples that people try to dominate, but “it shall not be so among you.”  Christian love isn't about importance or power; “whoever would be first must be your slave.”  In family life, domination and competition destroy love.  Peter’s admonition also applies to the family:  “Clothe yourselves with humility; ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (IV:97-98)
Read
  • 2 Cor 4:7-15  We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power may be God's, not ours.  We're afflicted but not constrained, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not abandoned, struck but not destroyed.  We're being given up to death for Jesus' sake so his life may be manifested in us.  We believe and speak, knowing God will raise us.  Everything is for you, so grace may cause thanksgiving for God's glory.
  • Ps 126:1bc-6  "Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing."  When the Lord brought back the captives, we were like dreamers, laughing and rejoicing.  Restore our fortunes!
  • Mt 20:20-28  The mother of  Zebedee's sons asked Jesus that they sit beside him in the Kingdom.  Jesus / sons:  “Can you drink the chalice I'm going to drink?” / “We can.” / “Then you shall, but the seats aren't mine to give.” “Don't be like rulers who make their authority felt; to be great, serve.  The Son came not to be served but to serve and to give his life....”
Reflect
    • Creighton:  Why did Jesus nickname James and John “Sons of Thunder”?  They presumed authority and were overzealous.  These energetic young men whom Jesus loved and teased turned into important saints.  Am I willing to be bold and zealous and dare to make mistakes in the Lord's service?  Am I ready to be rebuked, and encouraged, to learn from them and try again?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Lift high the cross!"  Only Peter, James, and John were present when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus, at his transfiguration, and at the agony in the Gethsemani garden.  When James was beheaded and Peter was on death row, it seemed the Church leaders were being systematically exterminated, but death brought new life to the Church.  When we "carry Jesus' dying in our bodies" and are "delivered to death for Jesus' sake," then Jesus' life is revealed.  In our weakness, God's power reaches perfection. "He was crucified out of weakness but lives by God's power.  We are weak in him but live with him by God's power in us."  Jesus' death and our share in it are our glory....

    • Passionist:  The word 'humility' comes from 'humus,' Latin for earth or ground.  The fruitfulness of the earth depends on the decomposition of organic matter. Today’s readings remind us that real abundance or prosperity real must come from the lowly.  When the mother of James and John asks Jesus for top positions for them, he reminds them of the need for humility, drinking from his cup.  Unity with Jesus means powerlessness and vulnerability, being the fragile vessel Paul speaks of.  Before I condemning politicians for their arrogance, I need to look at my own egotism, my desire for power and prestige, and ask that I might drink Jesus’ cup of humility....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Not to be served but to serve":  Don't be surprised that Jesus' disciples thirsted for power, position, and authority; so can we.  When Jesus called the apostles, he reversed the order of master and servant, lord and subject, first and last; he wedded authority with love, position with sacrifice, service with humility.  Authority without love is overbearing; position without concern for the subordinate is demeaning; service without sacrifice is cheap.  To serve with the Lord, be prepared to sacrifice everything. The 'cup' involves crucifixion.  What cup does the Lord have in mind for us?  Suffering, martyrdom, daily struggles...?
    Dress legend
    • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  Death is at work in us (1st reading)
    • Crucifix:  we carry Jesus' dying to manifest his life (1st reading); the Son of Man came to serve and to give his life... (gospel)
    • 'Drop' pin [of blood, like a tear]:  James's martyrdom; "Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing" (psalm)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  "Command that my sons site one at your right hand and the other at your left" (gospel)
    • Tie with cups:  "Can you drink the cup?" (gospel)
    • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "'Rulers' of the Gentiles lord it over them" (gospel)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  'call' of St. James and all disciples
    • Red shirt:  color of apostle's feast day; martyrdom of St. James