FEAST OF ST JAMES, APOSTLE : Tuesday 25th July 2023

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St James the Apostle, pray for us

FEAST OF ST JAMES, APOSTLE : Tuesday 25th July 2023

2 Cor. 4:7-15; Ps. 125:1-2ab,2cd-3,4-5,6;
Mt. 20:20-28 (Ps. Wk. IV)

The mother of James and John comes to Jesus and, on behalf of her sons, asks for the two best seats at the banquet “in your kingdom”. Jesus responds by saying they do not understand the implications of their asking. Sharing Jesus’ kingdom demands sharing His way to the kingdom, namely, His cup of suffering, which He is about to drink in Jerusalem. While Jesus can promise a share in His sufferings to the disciples, exaltation to the kingdom is something only the Father can give: first to Jesus and then to whomsoever the Father grants it to.

Later, Jesus used the occasion to teach His disciples about the true model of Christian leadership. Christian leadership is modelled on the cross and the reversal of all the values and ambitions. The path to true greatness and leadership in the kingdom leads to humble service and even slavery. Jesus speaks of the leader as a servant who freely puts himself or herself at the service of others. He then goes a step further and uses the image of a slave, where one does not have rights but exists only for others.

This message of Jesus is echoed by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. Paul renounces the right to a private life, meaning that he allows all his actions and words to be observed and examined and, in this way, learns what it means to imitate Christ. Put simply, Paul demonstrates the foolishness of claiming self-importance over others. Only this radical form of self-denial for the sake of others can effectively win humanity to the Gospel.

Lord, help me to serve others.

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