XVII Sunday in Ordinary Time

By: Father José Miguel González Martín

Solemnity of Santiago Apóstol


July 25, 2021

We must obey God before men.

We carry this treasure in clay jars.

The Son of man has not come to be served

but to serve and give his life.




First reading

A reading from the book of Acts of the Apostles 4, 33; 5, 12. 27-33; 12.2

In those days, the apostles gave testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great courage. And he looked at all of them with great pleasure.

By the hand of the apostles many signs and wonders were performed in the midst of the people.

All gathered in one spirit in Solomon’s Porch.

They brought them before the Sanhedrin and the high priest questioned them, saying:
“Had we not formally ordered them not to teach in that Name? Instead, you have filled Jerusalem with his teaching and want to hold us responsible for that man’s blood. ”

Peter and the apostles replied:
“You have to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed, by hanging him on a tree. God has exalted him with his right hand, making him head and savior, to grant Israel conversion and forgiveness of sins. Witnesses of this are we and the Holy Spirit, which God gives to those who obey him ”.

When they heard this, they were consumed with rage and tried to kill them.

King Herod had James, John’s brother, put to the sword.



Ps 66, 2-3. 5. 7-8

O God, may the peoples praise you, may all the peoples praise you.

May God have mercy and bless us, illuminate his face on us;
Let the earth know your ways, all the peoples your salvation. R.

Let the nations sing for joy, because you rule the world with justice,
and you rule the nations of the earth. R.

The earth has yielded its fruit, the Lord, our God, blesses us.
God bless us; let them fear him to the ends of the earth. R.


Second lecture

A reading from the second letter of the Apostle Paul to Corinthians 4,7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We carry this treasure in clay jars, so that it can be seen that such an extraordinary force is from God and does not come from us.

Troubled in everything, but not crushed; hurried, but not desperate; persecuted, but not abandoned; overthrown, but not annihilated, always and everywhere carrying the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

Well, while we live, we are continually being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake; so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh. In this way, death acts in us, and life in you.

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written: “I believed, that is why I spoke,” we also believe and that is why we speak; knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and present us with you before him.

For all this is for your good, so that the more you receive grace, the greater the gratitude, to the glory of God.



A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew 20, 20-28

At that time, the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons and fell down to make a request of him.

He asked her, “What do you want?”

She replied: “Order these two children of mine to sit in your kingdom, one on your right and the other on your left.”

But Jesus replied: “They do not know what they are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?

They replied: “We can.”

He said to them, “You will drink my cup; but sitting on my right or on my left is not my turn to grant it, it is for those for whom my Father has reserved it ”.

The other ten, hearing this, were outraged against the two brothers. And calling them, Jesus said to them: “They know that the leaders of the peoples are tyrannizing them and that the great ones oppress them. It will not be like that among you: whoever wants to be great among you, let him be his servant, and whoever wants to be first among you, let him be his slave.

Like the Son of man, he did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many ”.



Today, the Solemnity of Saint James the Apostle, we have taken the readings from the proper liturgy instead of those from the 17th Sunday of ordinary time. Perhaps not in all places such a solemnity is celebrated, but the figure of James, the brother of John, son of Zebedee, a relative of the Lord, as the first martyr apostle, greatly illuminates the present moment.

Today’s Word of God is impregnated with basic principles of Christian life, which are understood even better seen and embodied in the person and figure of Saint James the Apostle: call and following of Jesus, personal conversion, change of mentality, humility and awe at the the mystery, strength of spirit, living testimony and martyrdom dedication of one’s life. This is the process that any disciple of Jesus, that is, every Christian, has to live, even suffer, when the time comes for it.

After being called by Jesus and taken out of the boats and nets of his father, James, in today’s Gospel he is presented to us as the one who has not yet understood Jesus or the novelty of the lifestyle of Jesus. he. He thinks of worldly glories and asks the Master for them through his mother. Who would dare deny something to the mother of a friend who has left everything for you? Jesus apparently denies it; he actually offers him something better … drinking the cup that he himself has to drink, martyrdom, as the greatest glory of the disciple, because it is what will make him totally like the Master. And he takes advantage of the moment to teach all his disciples a fundamental principle in the life of the Christian: “whoever wants to be great among you, let him be his servant, and whoever wants to be first among you, let him be his slave.” . And he proposes himself as a model: “Just as the Son of man has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I still remember, as if it were right now, the moment and the words of Pope Francis at the mass in Havana, on his trip to Cuba in 2015. He concluded his homily with that phrase that some attribute to Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “ Who does not live to serve, does not serve to live ”. A few days later, I heard her repeat in the street, like a germinating seed, like refreshing water, from the mouth of a boy who was not a Christian but who had listened to the Pope on radio or television. Certainly “living to serve” is a universal principle, human and Christian at the same time, a source of peace and happiness for every man or woman of good will.

But what do we mean by serving … the service that Jesus talks about is not helping a little until I get tired, it is not doing a favor and now, it is not giving what is left over, it is not offering something in exchange for reciprocal help. Serving Jesus means giving your life, totally, little by little, without demanding anything in return, as He did. And that is hard to learn and live it.

James, along with the rest of the Apostles, learned it and lived it. And he was in Peter’s group when they responded to the high priest before the Sanhedrin, that “we must obey God rather than men.” What a beginning of life! It is the maxim for free men and women, of great human and Christian stature, who feel at the same time weak and humble, ready to give everything, up to the last consequences, like the Master. From the experience of seeing Christ lay down his life on the cross, Santiago felt transformed and convinced that it was worth giving his life for him. The force of the Lord’s resurrection made him lose his fear of those who demanded his life. He did not hesitate to face evil incarnate in envious, exclusive and evil people such as the members of the Sanhedrin and the same Herod who ordered him to be executed. We don’t know anything about his last words or his last moments. It is enough for us to know that he gave his life for Christ.

Saint Paul, in the second reading, describes the disciple and apostle as a clay pot that carries an immense treasure, whose strength is in God and not in the disciple himself. The treasure is Christ himself, with whom we identify ourselves and for whom we suffer when we really want to be his disciples. What they did with Jesus they will do with us; we will meet the same fate. His death will be our death, so that the true life that He came to give us will be extended to all around us. Says the apostle to the Gentiles: “As long as we live, we are continually being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake; so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh ”.

The authentic testimony of life springs from faith in the one who first loved us; and true faith in Christ impels us, urges us, urges us to bear witness to Christ wherever we are, without measuring the consequences or reserving anything for ourselves. Saint Paul says: “I believed, that’s why I spoke.” Christians believe in Christ and that is why we speak, we are his witnesses so that everyone may have life in his name, even if in it we risk fame, prestige, the future or even our own lives. We trust in Christ who defeated death and showed us that death is not the end of the road. Christ is the Lord of life, authentic and true life, free and beautiful, divine and eternal.

It is Christ himself who calls us to follow him; We have allowed ourselves to be impacted by his humanity, we have felt the seduction of his gaze, we have experienced his unconditional love and that is why we want to be Christians to the end. The Church of the first centuries greatly flourished from the witness and vitality of the early Christians, some of whom gave their lives shedding their blood like Christ. The Church of our time and place will be fruitful if each one of us sets out to be Christians and witnesses of Christ until the last consequences, as was James, as were so many apostles and martyrs throughout history. Giving life, so that others may have life … tremendous challenge that, with Christ by our side, is attractive and achievable.




Oh Christ, in order to serve you better, give me a noble heart.

A strong heart to aspire for high ideals and not for mediocre options.

A generous heart at work, seeing in it not an imposition but a mission that you entrust to me.

A big heart in suffering, being a brave soldier before my own cross and a sensitive Cyrenean for the cross of others.

A big heart towards the world, being sympathetic to its frailties, but immune to its maxims and seductions.

A big heart with all people, loyal and attentive to everyone, but especially helpful and delicate to the small and humble.

A heart never centered on me, always leaning on you, happy to serve you and to serve my brothers, oh my Lord! every day of my life. Amen


(Father Ignacio Larrañaga, Meeting 59)

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