FEAST OF ST. JAMES THE GREAT, APOSTLE AND MARTYR.
Killed with the sword in the year 44.
ST. JAMES, who had craved the Right Hand or the Left Hand seat, and had accepted the cup and baptism proposed to him, was the first of the Apostles to lay down life for his Master's sake.
St. John, who had proffered the same prayer and incurred the same obligation, was the last of them all to die, and that not by martyrdom.
Together they had left nets and boat for Christ. Together they had borne the title of Sons of Thunder. Together they had companied with the Lord Jesus, and afterwards had seen Him ascend into heaven. Together they had received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and had preached the Gospel by words and by lives more eloquent than words.
Till a day came when one was taken, the other left: one "followed," the other "tarried." Lovely and pleasant in their lives, in their death they were divided.
Now these twain were princes and great men of the better Israel; true yokefellows, moreover, and fellow-heirs; set side by side in their high places on the battle-field of the world and in the kingdom of the Church.
Yet each had to finish separately and differently the course begun hand in hand and alike.
Only now once more, and for these eighteen hundred years past, they are together.
Whence we feel vividly that as "circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God," so also life or death, so also even martyrdom or a natural death is "nothing," but the doing or suffering the Will of God. Amen.