2 Cor 4:7-15 / Matthew 20:20-28
St. James was one of the Twelve Apostles called by Jesus. In fact, he and his brother John was one of the first apostles to be called by Jesus at the seashore of the lake of Galilee where he was a fisherman.
He is often called "James the Greater" to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus, who is known as "James the Lesser".
Together with only Peter and John, James had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration and also the raising of Jairus' daughter back to life.
The Acts of the Apostles, 12:1, records that Herod had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is believed to be the first of the 12 apostles martyred for his faith.
We heard in the gospel that Jesus asked James and John whether they could drink the cup that He was going to drink, they confidently replied that they could.
At that time, James would not have known what his end was going to be like, and so he may not know what he was saying.
But at the end, he knew what he was doing - he was following his Lord and bearing witness to Him.
He readily gave up his life in service for the Lord. Maybe he would have even considered it an honour to be the first among the apostles to give up his life for Christ.
In a way, the James who asked to sit on either the right or left of Jesus was a different James who was beheaded by Herod.
St. James realised along the way that he was just an earthenware jar that was chosen to hold the treasures of God.
May we also realise along the way that we are earthenware jars that are chosen to hold the treasures of God.
May we also be willing to pour out our lives for others in service and sacrifice, so that the treasures of God will flow into their lives.