28 June 2006

James the Less

Pope Benedict XVI today reflected on the person of the Apostle James the Less and, although seemed at first slow, he presented us a gem at the end as usual.

"The most prominent action [James] accomplished," said the Holy Father, "was his intervention on the question of the difficult relationship between Christians and Jewish origin and those of pagan origin" at the Council of Jerusalem.

Implicitly noting the humility of the Apostle, Pope Benedict commented that "To him in fact is attributed the Letter that bears his name James and is included in the New Testament canon. He does not present himself as the 'Lord's brother,' but as 'servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ' (James 1:1)." There's something to think about the next time we try to throw around the weight of our position and friendships.

It is this Letter of James that "shows us a very concrete and practical Christianity," an influence clearly seen in the Holy Father's
Encyclical Letter. (Just in case you missed it, there are rumors circulating about a second possible Encyclical to be released in 2007 concerning social teaching, although I am skeptical about these rumors.)

And, of course, as he has done with Peter, Andrew, James, and John, so the Holy Father does with James the Less. What lesson can we learn from the example of his life?

Says the Bishop of Rome, "Thus he teaches us not to presume to plan our lives in an autonomous and selfish way, but to make room for the inscrutable will of God, who knows the true good for us. In this way, St. James is always a timely teacher of life for each of us."

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