Friday, October 23, 2009

Feast of St James the Just, brother of our Lord

After a few weeks of not blogging, due to a hectic schedule and a broken computer, I have return.

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of St. James the Just. James, the brother of our Lord, like Mary, the Blessed Mother, had an intimate relationship with our Lord. Probably because of his close relationship with Jesus, James, as did Mary, misunderstood the mission and ministry of our Lord during his lifetime. How often do we think we know what is best for those we love?

After the Ascension and Pentecost, James became the leader of the first church, the church of Jerusalem. Was it because of his brotherly connection or his spiritual insight? It may had been a combination.

His decisive role in the first controversy the young church faced, the role of Gentiles, proved that he was chosen and gifted by God to lead the young church. He presided at the Council of Jerusalem(Acts 15) and delivered the definitive and decisive statement which allowed the church to become catholic and not remain a small sect which could have faded from history.

His martyrdom reminds us that faithful obedience to the way of Christ may lead us to conflict with those in authority, but that our response should be one of faithful prayer and witness.

Two hymns from the Orthodox tradition are fitting tributes to James, the brother of our Lord.

Troparion (Tone 4)

As the Lord's disciple you received the Gospel, O righteous James;
As a martyr you have unfailing courage;
As God's brother, you have boldness;
As a hierarch, you have the power to intercede.
Pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion (Tone 4)

When God the Word, the Only-begotten of the Father,
Came to live among us in these last days,
He declared you, venerable James, to be the first shepherd and teacher of Jerusalem
And a faithful steward of the spiritual Mysteries.
Therefore, we all honor you, O Apostle.

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