July 25, 2017


July 25, 2017:  St. James, Apostle

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
For 1st reading
For Psalm 126
For the gospel
Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  The transformation of love
Close, exclusive relationships must now last for decades, so the initial decision has to be frequently renewed.  One spouse may no longer experience intense sexual desire for the other but still experience the pleasure of mutual belonging and knowledge that they're partners sharing everything in life, companions facing difficulties and pleasures together.  If a couple has a shared life project, they can love one another and live as one all their lives, enjoying an enriching intimacy.  Their love is greater than any feeling or state of mind; it's deeper, a lifelong decision of the heart.  Even amid confusion and unresolved conflicts, they daily reaffirm their decision to love, belong to each other, share their lives, and forgive, each developing personally and rejoicing at every step.

Love and attraction don't have to fade when physical appearances change; we love the other for who they are, not just their body.  The body still expresses the identity that won our heart.  Even if others no longer see its beauty, spouses do and so affection remains strong; they reaffirm the decision to belong to each other and express it in faithful, loving closeness.  The decision gives rise to new emotion as they fulfill their marital mission, with expressions beyond the conjugal act.  Love has dimensions; at different times, one or another may emerge more clearly.  The marriage seeks new ways to grow stronger.  None of this is possible without praying to the Spirit for grace, strength, and spiritual fire, to confirm, direct, and transform our love.  (IV:163-64)
  • 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....”
    • Creighton:  James ("the greater") and his brother John left their father Zebedee when Jesus called them. James may have felt proud of himself for being in Jesus’ inner circle (he was at the Transfiguration and Gethsemane), so the experience recounted today may have shocked him.  Instead of granting their mom's request, Jesus teaches them about leadership and service.  Jesus' followers must serve and give their lives.  
      St. James
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The continual, constant cross":  Although James and John wanted prosperity and success, Jesus wanted them to take up the cross.  Jesus invites us to suffer in the pattern of His death  to the point of being crucified with him, continually carrying Jesus' dying, constantly delivered to death for his sake, though we're tempted to make our crosses rare.  When we take up the cross and continually and constantly live it, we reveal Jesus' life, bear fruit as a wheat grain that falls and dies, and find joy as we share Christ's sufferings. 
    • Passionist:  "Can you drink the cup?”  Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship) and Nouwen (Can You Drink the Cup?) were great spiritual writers, humble, transparent, and vulnerable.  We like "doubting" Thomas, "cynical" Nathanael, impetuous Peter, James, and John who fail to grasp Jesus’ message. Mark's account has James and John asking; Matthew's, their mom.  Re "Can you drink this cup?":  Spiritual greatness has to do with being as great as you can, not being greater than others.  Sanctity is drinking our own cup and trusting that by claiming our journey we can become a source of hope for others.  Van Gogh, brokenhearted as he was, believed in his vocation to paint and went as far as he could with what he had; similarly for St. Francis, Dorothy Day, and Oscar Romero, all small people great in drinking their cups (Nouwen).  May we drink the cup of life Jesus offers.

    • DailyScripture.net:  "To serve, not be served":  Don't be surprised 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)
    • 'Hands' 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

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