James' mother was proud of her boys, James and John. Her sons were on the fast track to the top in the fledgling Kingdom of God. She watched her sons get off to a flying start in Jesus' kingdom, leaving the family business to follow Jesus (Mt 4:22).
Her boys quickly became two of the top three apostles, that is, Peter, James, and John. These three were privileged intimates of Jesus and were granted special access to Him not given the other apostles (see Mk 5:37; 9:2; 14:33).
When she asked Jesus to promote her boys to surpass Peter, Jesus gently corrected mother and sons, saying: "Whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all" (Mt 20:27).
Then Jesus brought the family to the school of the cross. Mother passed the test, following Jesus to the cross, attending to His needs (Mt 27:55-56). John also passed the test, standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus (Jn 19:26-27). James failed miserably, abandoning Jesus and fleeing in terror (Mk 14:50).
After receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:4), James watched his brother surpass him in stature (see Acts 3:1ff; 4:7, 13, 19). Finally, James grasped Jesus' lesson of humble service. After failing at Calvary, he passed the greatest test of discipleship and became the first of all (Mt 20:27), the first apostle to give his life for Jesus in martyrdom (Acts 12:2). With St. James, let us allow Jesus to turn our failures into His greatest victories.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from June 1, 2007 through July 31, 2007.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 22, 2007.