Feast of Saint James

Picturesque Arrival, Ong Hwee Yen, 2010. You can find more of Ong Hwee Yen’s work here.

The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left. What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers.  Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptized with the baptism which I must undergo? He is saying: “You talk of sharing honors and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggles and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war, and danger.” …

Then the other ten became angry at the two brothers. See how imperfect they all are: the two who tried to get ahead of the other ten, and the ten who were jealous of the two!  But…show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these  impulses and feelings have disappeared… James, for his part, was not to live very much longer; for from the beginning he was inspired by great fervor and, setting aside all purely human goals, rose to such splendid heights that he straightway suffered martyrdom.

(From a homily on St. Matthew by John Chrysostom)

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