Patron of Laborers and Pilgrims
Tis Saint is usually called “the Greater” in order to distinguish him from the other Apostle James, the “brother” of the Lord, who is called “the Less”. He was the brother of St. John the Evangelist (sons of Zebedee and Salome) and came from Bethsaida in Galilee, where his father owned a fishing boat.
The two youths were fishing with their father when Jesus came by and invited them follow Him. They became such dedicated and zealous followers that our Lord styled them Boanerges, or sons of thunder. They were present at the cure of St. Peter’s mother-in-law, the raising of Jairus’s daughter, and the Transfiguration, and were near Christ in His Agony in the garden.
One day their mother asked Jesus to assure a place of honor for her sons in His future Kingdom. When He asked if they were able to bear the cup of His sufferings, their answer was typical of them: indeed they could! And indeed they did!
After the dispersion of the Apostles, St. James preached the Gospel in Spain and then returned to Jerusalem, where he was the first of the Apostles to drink the cup of Christ’s sufferings. By order of Herod Agrippa he was beheaded at Jerusalem around the feast of Easter, in the year 44.
PRAYER: Almighty, ever-living God, through the blood of St. James You consecrated the first fruits of the ministry of Your Apostles. Grant that Your Church may be strengthened by his confession and always enjoy his patronage. Amen.