James the Lesser – Sunday, September 27, 2015
El Greco: James the LesserSunday, September 27, 2015
We have reflected on our restoration from dry bones, placed memorial stones to mark the importance of our relationship with God; we have entered in to the apostolic Spirit and marked the wisdom and prudence we want to govern our lives. And we have given over our interior temple to the transformation God has in mind for us, knowing that from our strife comes our great reward. For the next few weeks we will spend time with the letter of James, examining the message
This letter is likely written by “a relative of Jesus who is usually called “brother of the Lord” (see Mt 13, 55; Mark 6, 3). He is the leader of the Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem whom Paul acknowledged as one of the “pillars” (Gal 2, 9). In Acts he appears as an authorized spokesman for the Jewish Christian position in the early Church (Acts 12, 17; 15, 13-21)”. (Senior 368)
The letter, written in Greek despite the fact it is penned by a Jew, is considered one of the best of the New Testament and many believe that it was actually put down by a secretary. Some also regard these verses as some the earliest written after the Christ’s death and, quite likely, before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (Senior 369)
James’ message is universal and timeless, emphasizing “sound teaching and responsible moral behavior. Ethical norms are derived not primarily from christology, as in Paul, but form a concept of salvation that involves conversion, baptism, forgiveness of sin, and expectation of judgment. (1, 17; 4, 12)”. (Senior 369)
When we spend time with this short letter today, we find that its structure is neat and concise, focusing on the value of trials and temptation, the importance of heeding warnings, and the power of prayer. Using the scripture link we can skim differing versions of the letter to examine the themes and structure ourselves as we prepare to hear the message James wants to bring to us.
To learn more about James the Less, as he is often called to distinguish him from the Apostle James (James the Greater), follow the scripture links above in Matthew, Mark and Acts, click on the image above, or use a reference that you find helpful.
Tomorrow, James’ message.
Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.368-369. Print.