CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: FROM PROMPT RESPONSE TO ACTIVE FOLLOWERSHIP AND DEATH
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: FEAST OF SAINT JAMES APOSTLE
READINGS: 2CORINTHIANS 4:7-15, PSALM 126, MATTHEW 20:20-28
How I admire the apostle of Christ, James, faithful in his vocation, committed to his tasks and undying in his love for his master. James should challenge all of us in our various endeavours of life, we may want to be more serious.
James’ PROMPT RESPONSE to Jesus’ call (Mk. 1:20, Mat. 4:22) is a challenge to us today’s Christians. That he left his father (family) and fishing (profession) to follow Jesus so he could become a fisher of men is an invitation for us to CONSIDER NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN SERVING CHRIST. He had a burning zeal for the Lord’s work and anyone who wouldn’t accept Christ for him should be burnt by fire from heaven (Lk. 9:51-56). This explains why Jesus called him and his brother John ‘Boanerges’ – Sons of thunder (Mk. 3:17). James invites us to take the SERVICE OF GOD SERIOUSLY AND HAVE AN UNDYING ZEAL FOR MATTERS OF OUR FAITH.
His commitment to Christ and his mission must have occasioned his inclusion in the ‘apostolic caucus’ comprising Peter, John and himself. This special group witnessed some of the highpoints of Jesus’ ministry: Transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-8); Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36-40) and the raising of Jairus’ daughter to life (Mk. 5:37). These three are often taken to symbolize faith, charity and hope. OUR NEARNESS TO CHRIST CAN MERIT US A PLACE IN JESUS’ HEART. It will merit us an intimate experience of the mysteries of God and also earn us a place in eternity tomorrow because, Jesus will witness for us before God in heaven.
Regardless of their (James and John) inordinate desire to be by Jesus’ side in his glory, THEY WERE READY TO DRINK THE CUP OF SUFFERING OF JESUS. Besides, even while on earth, they never left Jesus’ side. Why we may condemn selfish and unruly desires, inordinate and vain ambition; we may do well to learn from the COMMITMENT OF JAMES AND HIS BROTHER, THEIR ZEAL AND ARDENT FOLLOWERSHIP, AND THEIR READINESS TO DIE FOR AND WITH CHRIST. How committed are we to Christ, how much do we love him; are we ready to stand with him to the death?
Acts of the Apostles 12:1-2 records the gruesome martyrdom of James by the violent Herod Agrippa I. He was beheaded with the sword in 44 AD. Indeed, he drank the cup of suffering he had accepted to drink. It was then he merited a place in the kingdom of heaven as against the request of his mother in Matthew 20:20. He served the Church of God following in Jesus’ footsteps; “the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and give his life as ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28).
To serve is to reign! CHRISTIAN GREATNESS CONSISTS IN SEEKING CHRIST AND SERVING HIM (TO THE DEATH) IN OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
May we partner with Christ as we go about our lives so that should we face affliction, we will never be crushed; when perplexed, we won’t plunge into despair, when persecuted, God’s grace won’t forsake us. May we stay with Christ so that when: we’re struck down, we won’t be destroyed.
James was struck with the sword in the flesh but his soul and his legacy lives on for years unending. James is revered as the Patron Saint of druggists, pilgrims and potters; he is also invoked in times of war and against rheumatism.
FEED ONE POOR TODAY…