Daily Reflection

My Chalice You Will Indeed Drink

July 25, 2024 | Thursday
  • Feast of Saint James, Apostle
  • Matthew 20:20-28

    2 Corinthians 4:7-15

    Psalm 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 405, 6

    Matthew 20:20-28


    The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons

    and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.

    He said to her,

    “What do you wish?”

    She answered him,

    “Command that these two sons of mine sit,

    one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”

    Jesus said in reply,

    “You do not know what you are asking.

    Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”

    They said to him, “We can.”

    He replied,

    “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.”

    When the ten heard this,

    they became indignant at the two brothers.

    But Jesus summoned them and said,

    “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,

    and the great ones make their authority over them felt.

    But it shall not be so among you.

    Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;

    whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

    Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served

    but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


    Opening Prayer: Lord God, your Son spent a night in prayer with you before calling James to become one of his Apostles. You know our hearts and can see us clearly as we are. Help me to know myself better and my mission so that I may serve you and your Kingdom and reign with your Son.


    Encountering the Word of God


    1. The Call of James the Greater: James was the son of Zebedee and the brother of John the Apostle. He was a fisherman and, as he was in the boat mending the nets with his brother and father, was called by Jesus. Both James and John immediately left the boat and their father and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:21-22). They put their hand to the plow and did not look back. James was chosen from among Jesus’ many disciples to be one of the twelve apostles. He was appointed to be with Jesus and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons (Mark 3:13-19). Among the Apostles, James was one of three chosen to witness the restoration of Jairus’ daughter to life (Mark 5:37). After this, Jesus sent out the Apostles two by two and gave them authority over the unclean spirits and the authority to heal every disease and every infirmity (Matthew 10:1-2). As an Apostle, James preached repentance to the towns and villages of Galilee, cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them (Mark 6:7-13). James was also one of three chosen to witness Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. He beheld the glory of the Son and heard Jesus speak with Moses and Elijah about his exodus from this world. He heard the voice of the Father declare: “This is my beloved Son, my Chosen, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36).


    2. James and Jesus’ Passion: After the Transfiguration, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. When the people of the Samaritan villages refused to receive Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, James and John asked Jesus: “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them and they went on to another village (Luke 9:51-56). This gives us some idea of why Jesus called the two sons of Zebedee “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). Before Jesus entered Jerusalem, the mother of James and John (possibly named Salome), approached Jesus and asked him to command that her two sons may sit at Jesus' right and left hand in his kingdom. Jesus turns and asks the two Apostles: “Are you able to drink the chalice that I am to drink?;” “Are you able to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” That day they accepted Jesus’ chalice and baptism. They learned not only that they will suffer for Jesus, but that greatness in the kingdom is linked to service: whoever would be great must be a servant, and whoever would be first must be a slave (Matthew 20:20-28). After the Last Supper, after being sanctified in the truth by Jesus (John 17:17), James was one of the three Apostles who witnessed Jesus’ Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42). He had seen and experienced Jesus’ glory on Mount Tabor; he now experiences Jesus’ suffering and humility on the Mount of Olives. This, Pope Benedict XVI said, was an opportunity for him to grow in faith and adjust any triumphalist interpretation of the Transfiguration. James had to learn that the Messiah was not only surrounded by honor and glory, but also by suffering and weakness. “Christ’s glory was fulfilled precisely on the Cross, in his sharing in our sufferings” (Benedict XVI, June 21, 2006).


    3. The Martyrdom of James: In the Garden, James heard Jesus speak to his Father about the chalice that Jesus would drink and that he would share. James, in fact, would be the first martyr among the Apostles: “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword; and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread” (Acts 12:1-3). In his life and his death, James bore fruit that would last. His confession of faith and the shedding of his blood strengthened the early Church. Now, in heaven, he intercedes for the Church on earth and sustains her by his protection (Collect). Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians speaks about carrying in our bodies the dying of Jesus and manifesting in them the life of Jesus. James did this; he believed in Jesus, suffered for his name, and knew that the one who raised the Lord Jesus would also raise him with Jesus and place him in his heavenly presence. By drinking the chalice of the Lord, he became a friend of God (Communion Antiphon). Today we ask the Father to cleanse us by the saving baptism of Christ’s passion so that purified on this Feast of Saint James, we may offer a sacrifice pleasing to him (Prayer over the Offerings).


    Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you desire your friends to share in your life, death, and resurrection. You do not promise an easy life, but rather one filled with joy, love, service, suffering, and sacrifice. Help me, as you helped James, to follow each day in your footsteps.


    Living the Word of God: Can I dedicate time today to reflect on my initial encounter with God and his Son? How did I first learn about God? How have I lived that relationship to the present? What are some of the highlights and lowlights in that relationship?

    © 2024. EPRIEST, Inc. All rights reserved.

At ePriest, we are dedicated to supporting Catholic priests as they serve their people and build up the Church.

We invite you to explore our resources to help your own ministry flourish!

Sign Up Now