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Friday, July 25, 2003

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St. James

2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Psalm 126
Matthew 20:20-28

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"While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh." —2 Corinthians 4:11

Mary and a very few others were "near the cross" (Jn 19:25). Almost all of Jesus' disciples were nowhere near the cross. A few disciples were "looking on from a distance" (Mt 27:55). But Jesus wants us to be as close to the cross as Simon of Cyrene, Veronica, and Mary were. The Lord wants us to be near the cross spiritually. The Lord wants us continually carrying "about in our bodies the dying of Jesus" (2 Cor 4:10) and "constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake" (2 Cor 4:11). The Lord keeps pushing us closer and closer to the cross while we, like Peter (see Mt 16:22), James, and John (see Mt 20:21ff) tend to put as much distance between us and the cross as possible.

Will you quit running from the cross and run to the cross? Will you embrace the cross as the sign of perfect love and the way of your salvation? Will you boast of nothing but the cross of Jesus? (Gal 6:14) Will you pray with St. Francis of Assisi: "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world"?

Near the cross is the fountain of grace and love. Near the cross are Mary, James, and all the saints. You belong near the cross.

Prayer:  Father, put me at the foot of the cross and keep me near the cross.

Promise:  "Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all." —Mt 20:26-27

Praise:  St. James witnessed Christ's Transfiguration and agony in the garden. He himself later witnessed to others by laying down his life and becoming the first apostle to be martyred.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Crucified to the World on audio AV 40A-3 or video V-40A.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 29, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 31, 2002