2 Cor 4:7-15
James – Stubborn, smart, special, and a saint
One thing about this Gospel story is that it there’s something for everyone. It’s like a re-run of a movie or television, even though you know the ending, you want to watch it anyway.
There are four parts to this mini-series. The opening is when Zebedee’s wife wants a favor. Since they left the fishing business to follow Him and his preaching, it would warm a parent’s heart to know that they will be successful someday. She believes that Jesus is worthy of honor. Could He make sure her sons are also?
Jesus isn’t upset by her request. He understands a mother’s love and the law which says that parents should be taken care of if necessary. Yet He addresses the two young men with a question. Following Him might involve unpopularity as well as suffering. Would they be willing to follow Him even to the point of dying?
James and John were probably fun to be around. They were spontaneous as well as strong in their convictions. Just as Jesus had a nickname for Simon (Rock), he called these brothers “Sons of Thunder.” They were not shy and probably smart as well. No wonder, time and again, we see Jesus taking Peter, James and John to a new experience of His divinity.
The brothers declare that they are willing to follow Jesus all the way, whatever it takes. Jesus knows their future. They are called to continue to listen and learn, stay near and stay strong.
I did say that this a four part story. The final scene is you. How many times have we felt that we deserve a reward, or at least acknowledgement when we did something for God, or someone else, or just did what we were supposed to do. “What? No parade?”
Our readings today tell us that we also are called follow Jesus in thought, word, and deed each day. It isn’t always easy when dealing with many sorts of people. Our consolation is even though we might suffer in this life from people, intentionally or not, so did Jesus and His friends. But that’s the stuff that goes into making saints – how we respond to silly or serious wrongs for the sake of the Kingdom. There will be times that we will have to be stubborn, smart, special to God, and a saint for others.
- Fr. Michael Greene, C.P., Associate Retreat Director, “The Passionist Spiritual Center in New York City”, Bishop Molloy Retreat House, Jamaica, NY www.bishopmolloy.org