25 July, Saturday — Greater are His Plans

Jul 25 – Feast of St. James, Apostle

St. James (died 44) was the first Apostle to be martyred. He preached in Samaria, Judea, and Spain. His work in Spain, and the housing of his relics there, led to his patronage of the country and all things Spanish.

Like all men of renown, many stories grew up around St. James. In one, he brought back to life a boy who had been unjustly hanged, and had been dead for five weeks. The boy’s father was notified of the miracle while he sat at supper. The father pronounced the story nonsense, and said his son was no more alive than the roasted fowl on the table; the cooked bird promptly sat up, sprouted feathers, and flew away.

– Patron Saint Index

2 Cor 4:7-15
Mt 20:20-28

“Such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us”

I have been drawn to the Camino de Santiago ever since I read about it a few years back. Otherwise known as the Way of St. James, it is a network of pilgrimage routes culminating at the shrine of St. James the apostle in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain. I set myself the goal of doing the pilgrimage last July during my sabbatical but, as with many of my lofty resolutions, life got in the way.  

As we celebrate the Feast of St. James today, I am reminded of how life does not always pan out the way we imagine it. St. James was favoured as one of the three apostles in Jesus’ inner circle. St. James was one of the first to be called by Jesus to follow Him. He was privileged to have witnessed pivotal events during Jesus’ ministry — the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead, the transfiguration, and also Jesus’ agony at the garden of Gethsemane. St. James was known for his evangelical zeal, so much so that he was the first amongst the apostles to suffer martyrdom. A short-lived mission and an untimely end, yet St. James’ legacy lives on as modern-day international pilgrims journey on the Camino.  

In today’s reading, St. Paul reminds us that we are merely earthenware jars (some of us cracked pots) –- all too human, each with our own quirks and flaws. As Christians, what sets us apart is acknowledging that God is the treasure. We are called to love and to allow God to work through our ordinary lives. I cannot help but marvel at God’s hand in shaping my life. Did I attain everything that I aspired for? Hardly, but I have received blessings greater than I could have ever imagined; blessings not for myself, but for the service of others.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Eber)

Prayer: Father God, help us to never grow so proud as to think that we can do without You.  Teach us to be humble and to seek greatness in your eyes, not in the eyes of the world.   

Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for sending us the saints as role models of how we should live our lives. May we always remember that You are the potter and we your earthenware, that we should strive to do Your will.  

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