We honor Saint James, the Apostle. Scripture reveals that James was the first Apostle to be martyred according to the book of Acts of the Apostles. This James carries with him the title of “the Greater,” who is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.
The Church prays,
Almighty everliving God, who consecrated the first fruits of your apostles by the blood of Saint James: Grant, we pray, that your Church may be strengthened by his confession of faith and constantly sustained by his protection.
Some things to remember about Saint James from Scripture:
“My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Jesus to James and John, Mt. 20:23)
Jesus questioned their ambition, saying, “Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.”
At the time of James’ death, we learn that Peter was imprisoned, and then miraculously freed. Why did James die and not Peter?
The Gospel shows us the face of James and his brother wanting a privileged place with Jesus in his Kingdom. James got his wish of being first in the Church: he gave his life for the salvation of others.