Today’s Feast of James the Apostle also happens to be the birthday of one of my precious children. Our family will celebrate the life of one of God’s greatest gifts with laughter, love, presents, food, and hope. We will pray that our child will grow into the person God has created her to be and that she will have every opportunity to succeed. We all want the best for our children, even when we have no idea what that best thing might be.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew associated with James the Apostle, we hear that is was his mother who approached Jesus and asks the favor that her sons (James and his brother John) be allowed to sit at Jesus’ right and left in his kingdom. Jesus responds, “you do not know what you are asking.” James becomes the first of the apostles to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ. In that sense, no, James’ mother did not know what it would mean for her son James to share with Jesus in his kingdom. But in another sense, she did know what she was asking. Look past the political position of power and think about her request that her son would be in close, intimate relationship with the Lord. Isn’t that something each of us wants for our children as well?
Examining the life of James the Apostle as a family provides each person an opportunity, in their age appropriate way, to think about how close they are with Jesus. James along with his brother John, and their friend Peter, we are told, shared a special relationship with Jesus that the other apostles perhaps did not enjoy. As a family, read through the following passages together.
Mark 5:21-43: Healing of Jairus’ daughter
Luke 9:28-36: The Transfiguration
Matthew 26:36-38: Garden of Gethsemane
What must it have meant for James (and John and Peter) to be invited by Jesus into these special experiences?
How do you think that being present with Jesus during these particular experienced of Jesus’ life helped to bring James closer to the Lord?
As parents we want the best for all of our children, and if given the opportunity, we too would ask of Jesus for them to be as close to him as possible. Today is a good day to talk about how we can grow closer to the ones we love and want to be in relationship with. Today is a good day to spend time with the ones we love to model how healthy, deep, and meaningful relationships are cultivated.
May we all be encouraged by James the Apostle and the close friendship he shared with Jesus. May we all strive for the same.
[Image Credit: St. James the Apostle by Peter Paul Reubens; Public Domain via Wikimedia.]