The Feast of St James

Today we mark the Feast Day of St James, apostle and martyr. We celebrate Saints’ days as a reminder that we are all called to be Saints, and to remember that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who call us on in faith.  We remember great saints and lesser saints, all of whom struggled like us to walk the journey of faith, as our fellow worshippers. James is not a saint we talk about regularly, but it’s good today to see what St James the Great, brother of John and one of the sons of Zebedee has to say to us.

James and John, sons of Zebedee were called the ‘sons of thunder’ by Jesus, a name which suggests their outspoken, fervent temperaments.  Along with his brother John, James the Great left behind his father’s lucrative fishing business when Jesus the Christ called them to join him in fishing for people.   We find James present with Jesus at the Transfiguration, in the Garden of Gethsemane before the Crucifixion, and we James and his brother John being rebuked by Jesus when they demanded that he call down fire to destroy a Samaritan town.

James was a leader of the Christian Church in Jerusalem from its earliest days, and tradition tells us that he died before the other apostles, beheaded in 44AD on the orders of Herod Agrippa.

According to legend, James’ body was taken to what is now Spain.  His presence there has inspired a great pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Way of St James, still walked by pilgrims today.  The pilgrim’s hat, and the scallop shell became his emblems. James, this tempestuous and passionate disciple speaks to us today of the transformation Jesus brings, becoming a great example of faith and courage for all Jesus’ followers to this very day.

In peace, Mother Lynda

Gospel Reading:  Matthew 20:20-28