Second Letter to the Corinthians 4:7-15.
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we too believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
"the LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
they shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint 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 cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can."
He replied, "My cup 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."
"My cup you will indeed drink”
This James belongs, together with Peter and John, to the group of the three privileged disciples whom Jesus admitted to important moments in his life. Since it is very hot today, I want to be brief and to mention here only two of these occasions. James was able to take part, together with Peter and John, in Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and in the event of Jesus' Transfiguration. Thus, it is a question of situations very different from each other: in one case, James, together with the other two Apostles, experiences the Lord's glory and sees him talking to Moses and Elijah, he sees the divine splendour shining out in Jesus. On the other occasion, he finds himself face to face with suffering and humiliation, he sees with his own eyes how the Son of God humbles himself, making himself obedient unto death. The latter experience was certainly an opportunity for him to grow in faith, to adjust the unilateral, triumphalist interpretation of the former experience: he had to discern that the Messiah, whom the Jewish people were awaiting as a victor, was in fact not only surrounded by honour and glory, but also by suffering and weakness. Christ's glory was fulfilled precisely on the Cross, in his sharing in our sufferings.
This growth in faith was brought to completion by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so that James, when the moment of supreme witness came, would not draw back. Early in the first century, in the 40s, King Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, as Luke tells us, "laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword" (Ac 12: 1-2)... Consequently, we can learn much from St James: promptness in accepting the Lord's call even when he asks us to leave the "boat" of our human securities (Mt 4:21), enthusiasm in following him on the paths that he indicates to us over and above any deceptive presumption of our own, readiness to witness to him with courage, if necessary to the point of making the supreme sacrifice of life. Thus James the Greater stands before us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ. He, who initially had requested, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in his Kingdom, was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion and to share martyrdom with the Apostles.