James of Zebedee
M Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

Gospel (Mt 20,20-28) - At that time, the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons, and she prostrated herself to ask him something. He said to her, "What do you want?" She replied to him: "Tell these sons of mine to sit, one at your right and one at your left, in your kingdom." She replied Jesus: «You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?". They tell him: "We can." And he added: «You will drink my cup; However, it is not up to me to allow you to sit on my right or on my left, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." The other ten, hearing this, were indignant at the two brothers; but Jesus, calling them to him, said: «The leaders of the nations, you know, dominate over them and the great ones exercise power over them. It should not be like this among you; but whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave; just like the Son of man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The commentary on the Gospel by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia

Today the Church remembers the apostle James. Jesus had met him on the shores of Lake Galilee and had called him to follow him, together with his brother John. By immediately listening to Jesus' invitation to follow him, James - called the "greater" to distinguish him from the other James - began his journey as a disciple. Like everyone else, he did not always understand the Lord's plan of love for his life and he too, like the others, allowed himself to be overcome by the temptation to ask for accommodation, a role for himself. In truth, discipleship first and foremost requires listening to the master and not seeking one's own accommodation. The request to have a place at Jesus' right hand was not naive on the part of the mother of the two children. And the jealous reaction of others is not long in coming. Jesus patiently corrects and continues to speak to all of them. And James, who perhaps had not even fully understood Jesus' response, nevertheless does not stop following him and listening to him, as well as receiving the master's correction when, out of too much zeal, he wants to send fire from heaven to destroy those Samaritans who did not want to welcome Jesus. But the encounter with the resurrected Jesus and the welcoming of the Holy Spirit into his heart made James a witness to the Gospel, to the point of shedding his blood. According to tradition he was the first apostle to suffer martyrdom. On that day James tasted the same cup drunk by Jesus. His life had become like that of the master: spent for others. This is what the Lord had asked of him. And by obeying to the end, James fulfilled the mission that Jesus had entrusted to him.