Monday, July 25th, we celebrate the feast of our parish patron, St. James the Greater.
In the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia we read the following about our patron saint, “James the son of Zebedee and his brother John were among the twelve disciples of Our Lord. They, together with Peter, were privileged to behold the Transfiguration, to witness the healing of Peter's mother-in-law and the raising of the daughter of Jairus, and to be called aside to watch and pray with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before His death.
James and John were apparently from a higher social level than the average fisherman. Their father could afford hired servants, and John (assuming him to be identical with the "beloved disciple") had connections with the high priest. Jesus nicknamed the two brothers "sons of thunder", perhaps meaning that they were headstrong, hot-tempered, and impulsive; and so they seem to be in two incidents reported in the Gospels. On one occasion, Jesus and the disciples were refused the hospitality of a Samaritan village, and James and John proposed to call down fire from heaven on the offenders. On another occasion, they asked Jesus for a special place of honor in the Kingdom, and were told that the place of honor is the place of suffering.
Finally, about AD 42, shortly before Passover (Acts 12), James was beheaded by order of King Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great (who tried to kill the infant Jesus--Matthew 2), nephew of Herod Antipas (who killed John the Baptist--Mark 6--and examined Jesus on Good Friday--Luke 23), and father of Herod Agrippa II (who heard the defense of Paul before Festus--Acts 25). James was the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom, and the only one of the Twelve whose death is recorded in the New Testament.”
How wonderful for all of us to be part of such a vibrant community of faith and friendship! May we all continue to be a source of welcome to all who come to us!
A Happy and Blessed Feast Day, everyone!
- Fr. John
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