Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 9:57 AM
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St. James the Greater

Dear Friends, 

On Monday the Church celebrates the feast of the apostle St. James the Greater, brother of St. John who authored the Fourth Gospel, three letters and the book of Revelation.   James is the elder of the two sons of Zebedee and Salome; they earned the nickname given them by the Lord, the “sons of thunder”, perhaps because of their youthful energy being the youngest of the Lord’s apostles.    James belonged to the Lord’s most intimate inner circle of disciples; along with his brother and Simon Peter they enjoyed special privilege which allowed him to be a witness of the Transfiguration.   The church historian Eusebius later reports that James served as Bishop in Jerusalem where King Herod Agrippa had him killed by the sword (cf. Acts 12:1-2).   Later his body is brought to the northern city in Spain (the far western region of the Roman Empire) Santiago de Compostella.     Here a great Cathedral shrine was built over his remains and is to this very day a place of pilgrimage and veneration.   

When Jesus met James he was working at his father’s business as a fisherman along with his younger brother.   The Gospels report that James and John left their father’s boat and immediately became the Lord’s disciples.   This immediate response of this young man is a witness of the power of Jesus’ call that beckons us to leave all behind to follow him.   Pope Benedict XVI says that James left behind the “human securities” the human comforts of our life and allowed himself to be led by Jesus into the vast unknown.  Ultimately James gave his life for the glory of Jesus Christ.   Here we find in this young apostle the joy of the Christian faith, the youthfulness the enthusiasm of serving the Lord even to the point of giving your life as an ultimate witness of faith and love.    As disciples, our enthusiasm for our faith must serve to inspire others to respond immediately and with joy to the service of the Church in love for Jesus.  

How much our society, our community, our families need Jesus Christ?  How often do those in our lives who are not his disciples feel the emptiness and absence of his love?   How many young people, like James simply need to hear the Lord’s invitation so that they can show how generous they can be to say yes to him?   As parishioners we must never be afraid to invite young people to consider what joys await them if they would just say yes to the Lord who encounters us every day and in varied ways so that we can leave behind our own securities and enthusiastically say to him, “here I am Lord, I come to do your will.”  Be instruments of the call of Jesus for future priests and consecrated women.   Do not be afraid to ask your children, your grandchildren, your nieces or nephews: “have you thought of becoming a priest or a consecrated woman?”  You never know how the God chooses to call them; you may have helped to provide the church more enthusiastic disciples of Jesus Christ.   May St. James the Apostle intercede for us so that we will be blessed with numerous vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life for the glory of the Lord and the good of the Church.      

In the Lord Jesus,
Fr. Vasquez  


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