Today is the feast of the Saint James the Greater. The Venerable Servant of God John Henry Newman reminds us in his Parochial and Plain Sermons that St. James’ acceptance of risk in following the Lord unto his death was a vow recorded in heaven. How could he not respond positively to the question the Lord posed, “Are you able to drink from the cup I will give you?” James’ answer, like that of Peter’s, was little understood because he had no true idea of what was in store. Namely, that he’d be the first to die by the sword in Jerusalem. The faith James had was exceptional; it was a faith born in the trust in the person of Jesus Christ; it was a faith based on the encounter with such an exceptional Presence that offered more to life than mending nets.
When it comes to us, I am afraid that we are often too zealous for the wrong in life and insincere in things that matter. Do we confine ourselves to the idea of truth without risking the implications what believing really could mean? Are bromides that only thing we can remember? Can we follow James’ example who said, “Come, Lord Jesus,” at the end of the day conforming all of our desires and hopes, joys and sufferings to the Lord’s Will and thus making a venture that would allow us to live with Him forever? Or is eternal life too hard to grasp, too weird to accept as part of the promised hundred-fold?