Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. James the Apostle. According to legend, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the Middle Ages, the saint became known as Santiago Matamoros: “St. James the Moor-slayer.” Under this title, he was deployed as the spiritual inspiration for the Christian re-conquest of Iberia and the subsequent expulsion of Jews and Muslims from the peninsula.
What this tells us is that the desire for domination that we read in today’s Gospel reading did not end in the first century. But in the Gospel, Jesus responds with love. In the end, he sees through the mother’s ambition to focus on courage and dignity that James will show. James can and will drink his cup. Indeed, St. James is remembered as the first apostle to be martyred, killed by Herod in the year 44. He is undoubtedly a great patron for many of us, though perhaps not in all the ways we have wanted.
Almighty ever-living God, who consecrated the first fruits of your Apostles by the blood of Saint James, grant, we pray, that your Church may be strengthened by his confession of faith and constantly sustained by his protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
—Collect prayer for the feast of St. James, ApostlePlease share the Good Word with your friends!