Feast of Saint James, Apostle
Malvern Minute


Feast of Saint James, Apostle

July 25, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry


Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Psalm 126

Matthew 20:20-28


When we think of saints, sometimes we let our idea of them be formed in our minds by the typical statues and holy cards we see all the time. They make the saints look so perfect.  Please don’t get me wrong, those characteristics I mentioned certainly belong, in varying degrees to our saints.  I especially feel a bit biased when I think of my patron, Anthony, holding the baby Jesus so tenderly in his arms.  But I believe that it’s only a partial and sanitized picture of who these people were.  The saints were real people , who built their virtue in the struggle to overcome  both external obstacles and their own sinfulness and character defects.

I believe that Saint James, whose feast day we celebrate today, was no exception.  On one hand he was one of our Lord’s three closest apostles.  He witnessed the Lord’s greatest miracles such as the Transfiguration and was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He was prominent in the church in Jerusalem and the first Apostle to die for Christ. 

On the other hand, he has been said to have had a nasty temper.  He and his brother John, whom Jesus called the “sons of thunder,” wanted to call down fire to destroy the towns of Samaria that rejected the Lord.  So, Saint James was ambitious and impulsive, and in many ways did not initially understand Christ’s mission, just as we heard in today’s Gospel.  Can you imagine!  James and John actually tried to use their mother’s intercession to get the highest places of authority in Christ’s earthly kingdom.  But Jesus helped them to channel that, well, “enthusiasm” into becoming true servants of the Gospel and a willingness to accept suffering out of love for God.  But, there is more!

  James knew that he was weak, and finally realized that he must trust in God’s power to transform him into a faithful and holy disciple.  In the first reading today, we learn that it is God who gives value and power to the things we do in His name.  It is God who gives us strength in all our suffering, and who keeps us from breaking apart.  When we join our weakness and suffering to that of Christ we receive His strength and in return the promise that we will rise again with Jesus.

Today we ask for good Saint James to intercede for us and help us to follow his example.  Like Saint James we must finally recognize our human limitations and grow in our humility and loving trust in God who desired to do great things through us and ultimately bring us into His heavenly kingdom.

Question of the Day:  How can you, like the Apostle James, help in bringing about the Kingdom of God by serving others?

Prayer:  Almighty, ever-living God, through the blood of Saint James You consecrated the first fruits of the ministry of Your Apostles.  Grant that Your Church may be strengthened by his confession and always enjoy his patronage.  Amen.  (Lives of the Saints – Illustrated.) 

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in ou7r country and in our world.



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