Today is the feast of St. James the Apostle. He is the patron of the City of Querétaro (where I am presently) though, as a sign of the times, there isn’t a whole lot happening here today. My host family seemed to think that it was due to secularizing trends and the tendency of governments to want to distance themselves from anything religious, as if peoples’ lives were divided into neat little self-contained compartments. There is a big fiesta happening at the parish of St. James today, but nothing else (so far as I know) in the city. Alas.
Anyway, you should read today’s gospel. Then, read these words of St. John Chrysostom (taken from the Office of Readings for today, from the Breviary):
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, as I said before, show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these impulses and feelings have disappeared. Read how John, the very man who here asks for the first place, will always yield to Peter when it comes to preaching and performing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles. 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. [NB: St James was the first of the apostles to be martyred, in the year 42.]
As it turns out, there is hope for us poor slobs also! The words of St. John Chrysostom can be applied to us also: “See how imperfect we all are”! Yet the Lord can still make something good out of us; he can forgive all of our sins; he can help us to overcome all of our faults; he can even make us great saints.
Courage! St. James, pray for us.