One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 25, 2008

The Feast of St. James the Apostle

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

Bearing in mind that St. James would be the first apostle to undertake the glory of martyrdom for Christ, we can hear and feel more sharply the foretelling in the Lord’s question to the brothers James and John today.
“Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him,
“We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink”

The first apostle to drink it was St. James.
Palestine’s King Agrippa I beheaded him about ten years after the Lord Jesus Christ conquered the cross.
How fitting the apostolic Word of the Lord in today’s first reading for the feast of St. James!
We are ... struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

St. James drank the chalice of “the dying of Jesus” in order “that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
Since it is a share in the chalice of Jesus, the martyrdom of St. James shares in bringing the life of Jesus to us.
Again, the apostolic Word of the Lord says so in today’s first reading.
... the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

The “THANKSGIVING to overflow for the glory of God”— the word “thanksgiving” being an English stand-in for the Greek of “Eucharist.”
The New and Everlasting Eucharistic Covenant in the Blood of Christ is the chalice that St. James drank both as Blessed Sacrament and Blessed Martyrdom.
Like the apostles, we may be lowly “earthen vessels” [2 Cor. 4:7].
Nonetheless, if in thanksgiving we willingly take up the chalice of giving blameless witness to Christ, then we already bear the treasure of God’s surpassing power, “grace bestowed in abundance” [2 Cor. 4:15].

That God Be Glorified in All


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