Pope Benedict on James the Greater
"His Path Is a Symbol of the Pilgrimage of Christian Life"
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at Wednesday's general audience. The Pope dedicated is talk to the figure of the Apostle James the Greater.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We continue with the series of portraits of the apostles chosen directly by Jesus during his life. We have spoken of St. Peter and of his brother Andrew. Today we meet the figure of James. The biblical lists of the Twelve mention two people with his name: James, son of Zebedee, and James, son of Alphaeus (cf. Mark 3:17,18; Matthew 10:2-3), who are generally distinguished with the names James the Greater and James the Lesser.
These designations are not intended to measure their holiness, but simply to state the different relevance they receive in the New Testament writings and, in particular, in the framework of Jesus' earthly life. Today we dedicate our attention to the first of these two personages of the same name.
The name James is the translation of "Iákobos," a variation under Greek influence of the name of the famous patriarch Jacob. The apostle of this name is John's brother, and in the mentioned lists he occupies second place after Peter, as occurs in Mark (3:17), or the third place after Peter and Andrew, as in the Gospels of Matthew (10:2) and Luke (6:14), while in the Acts of the Apostles he appears after Peter and John (1:13). This James belongs, together with Peter and John, to the group of three privileged disciples who were admitted by Jesus to important moments of his life.
As it is very hot today, I would like to abbreviate and mention only two of these occasions now. He was able to take part, along with Peter and John, in the moment of Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and in the moment of Jesus' transfiguration. Therefore, it is a question of two very different situations: In one case, James, with the other two disciples, experiences the Lord's glory, sees him speaking with Moses and Elijah, sees the divine splendor revealed in Jesus; in the other, he finds himself before suffering and humiliation; he sees with his own eyes how the Son of God humbles himself, becoming obedient unto death.
The second occasion was surely for him an opportunity to mature in the faith, to correct the unilateral, triumphalist interpretation of the first: He had to discern how the Messiah, awaited by the Jewish people as a victor, was in reality not only surrounded by honor and glory, but also by sufferings and weakness. The glory of Christ was realized precisely on the cross, in taking part in our sufferings.
This maturation of the faith was brought to completion by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so that when the supreme moment of witness arrived, James did not draw back. In the early 40s of the first century, King Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, as Luke informs us: "laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword" (Acts 12:1-2). The brevity of the news, lacking any narrative detail, reveals, on one hand, how it was normal for Christians to witness to the Lord with their lives and, on the other, that James had a position of relevance in the Church of Jerusalem, in part because of the role carried out during Jesus' earthly existence.
A subsequent tradition, which goes back at least to Isidore of Seville, recounts that he was in Spain to evangelize that important region of the Roman Empire. According to another tradition, his body was taken to Spain, to the city of Santiago de Compostela. As we all know, that place became an object of great veneration and, still today, is the objective of numerous pilgrimages, not only from Europe, but from the whole world. In this way is explained the iconographic representation of James with the pilgrim's staff, and the Gospel story, characteristics of the itinerant apostle, committed to the proclamation of the "good news," characteristics of the pilgrimage of Christian life.
Therefore, we can learn much from James: promptness in accepting the Lord's call, even when he asks us to leave the "bark" of our human securities; enthusiasm in following Him on the paths that he indicates to us beyond our illusory presumption; readiness to give witness to Him with courage and, if necessary, with the supreme sacrifice of life. Thus, James the Greater is presented to us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ. He, who initially had requested, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in his Kingdom, was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion, in sharing martyrdom with the Apostles.
And, in the end, summarizing everything, we can say that his path, not only exterior but above all interior, from the mount of the Transfiguration to the mount of the agony, is a symbol of the pilgrimage of Christian life, amid the persecutions of the world and consolations of God, as the Second Vatican Council states. Following Jesus, we, like James, know that, even in difficulties, we are on the right path.
[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father read the following summary in English:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our weekly catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry, we now consider the Apostle James. James -- called the Greater, in order to distinguish him from James, the son of Alphaeus -- was the brother of the Apostle John.
In the New Testament, James is often named with Peter and John as one of the three disciples privileged to be present at the most significant events in Jesus' earthly ministry. These include the Lord's transfiguration on Mount Tabor and his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Through these two events, which revealed Christ's glory as the Son of God and the meaning of his redemptive sacrifice, James came to a deeper understanding of the Lord's messianic mission. This growth in faith was crowned by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The Acts of the Apostles presents James as an authoritative figure in the Church of Jerusalem and the first of the apostles to meet a martyr's death. His example inspires us to be zealous disciples of Christ, prepared to drink from the cup of his suffering in order to reign with him in glory (cf. Mark 10:35-40).
[The Pope then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present at today's audience, including the delegates to the conference on plasma physics, and the delegates to the symposium on atherosclerosis. I extend particular greetings to the groups from Ireland, Ghana, China and the United States of America. May your stay in Rome renew your faith and your love for our Lord, and may God bless you all!
© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
James the Greater, Pope, Benedict, Christian, Life, Apostle
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Trump dumps Obama's transgender restroom policy HD Video
- London's famed 'actors' church' reveals marvelously beautiful new ...
- Urgent action necessary for 5.5 million people starving in South ...
- Daily Readings for Friday, February 24, 2017
- Atheist teacher accuses Christian students of harassment for inviting ...
- Why are there more Muslims than Christians in Britain's religious ...
- St. John Theristus: Saint of the Day for Friday, February 24, 2017
- Daily Reading for Saturday, February 25th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, February 24th, 2017 HD
- Scientists predict Biblical flood for California HD
- New pilgrimage route recreates Jesus' footsteps HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.