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Posted on 06/28/2006 6:16:37 PM PDT by ELS
James the Less
"Contributed to Integrate the Original Jewish Dimension of Christianity"
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at today's general audience. The Pope spoke of the Apostle James the Less.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Beside the figure of James "the Greater," son of Zebedee, of whom we spoke last Wednesday, another James appears in the Gospel, who is called "the Less." He also forms part of the list of Twelve Apostles chosen personally by Jesus, and is always specified as "son of Alphaeus" (cf. Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 5; Acts 1:13).
He has often been identified with another James, called "the Younger" (cf. Mark 15:40), son of a Mary (cf. ibid.), who could be Mary of Clopas present, according to the Fourth Gospel, at the foot of the cross together with the Mother of Jesus (cf. John 19:25). He was also from Nazareth and probably a relative of Jesus (cf. Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3), who, after the Semitic manner, was called "brother" (cf. Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19).
Of this last James, the book of Acts underlines the pre-eminent role played in the Church of Jerusalem. In the apostolic council held there shortly after the death of James the Greater, he affirmed together with the others that the pagans could be received in the Church without first having to undergo circumcision (cf. Acts 15:13). St. Paul, who attributes to him a specific apparition of the Risen One (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:7), on the occasion of his trip to Jerusalem names him directly before Cephas-Peter, describing him as a "column" of the Church together with him (cf. Galatians 2:9).
Afterward, the Judeo-Christians considered him their main point of reference. To him in fact is attributed the Letter that bears the name James and is included in the New Testament canon. He does not present himself as the "Lord's brother," but as "servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (James 1:1).
There is a debate among scholars over the identification of these two personages of the same name, James son of Alphaeus and James "brother of the Lord." The evangelical traditions have not preserved for us an account of one or the other in reference to the period of the earthly life of Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles, instead, show us that a "James" carried out a very important role within the early Church, as we already mentioned, after the resurrection of Jesus, (cf. Acts 12:17; 15:13-21; 21:18).
The most prominent action he accomplished was his intervention on the question of the difficult relationship between Christians of Jewish origin and those of pagan origin. In this he contributed, together with Peter, to surmount, or better, to integrate the original Jewish dimension of Christianity with the need not to impose on converted pagans the obligation to be subjected to all the norms of the law of Moses.
The book of Acts has preserved for us the compromise solution proposed precisely by James and accepted by all the apostles present, according to whom the pagans who had believed in Jesus Christ should only be requested to abstain from the idolatrous custom of eating the flesh of animals offered in sacrifice to the gods, and from the "immodesty," a term that probably alluded to marital unions without consent. In practice, it was a question of adhering to only a few prohibitions, held rather important by the Mosaic legislation.
In this way, two significant and complementary results were obtained, both still valid: On one hand, the unbreakable relationship is recognized that links Christianity to the Jewish religion as its perennially living and valid matrix; on the other, Christians of pagan origin are allowed to preserve their own sociological identity, which they would have lost if they had been constrained to observe the so-called Mosaic ceremonial precepts: These now were no longer to be considered obligatory for converted pagans. In essence, a reciprocal praxis of esteem and respect was being initiated, which, notwithstanding subsequent unfortunate misunderstandings, sought by its nature to safeguard all that was characteristic of each of the two sides.
The most ancient information on the death of this James is given to us by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. In his Jewish Antiquities (20, 201f), written in Rome toward the end of the first century, he tells us that James' end was decided with the illegitimate initiative of the High Priest Ananus, son of the Annas attested in the Gospels, who took advantage of the interval between the deposition of one Roman Procurator (Festus) and the advent of his successor (Albinius) to decree his stoning in the year 62.
To the name of this James, in addition to the apocryphal proto-Gospel of James, which exalts the holiness and virginity of Mary the Mother of Jesus, is particularly linked the Letter that bears his name. It occupies the first place in the canon of the New Testament after the so-called Catholic Letters, addressed, that is, not to one particular Church -- such as Rome, Ephesus, etc. -- but to many Churches. It is a rather important writing, which insists much on the need not to reduce one's faith to a pure verbal or abstract declaration, but to express it concretely in good works. Among other things, he invites us to constancy in joyfully accepted trials and to trusting prayer to obtain from God the gift of wisdom, thanks to which we succeed in understanding that the true values of life are not in transitory riches, but rather in being able to share one's food with the poor and needy (cf. James 1:27).
Thus the Letter of St. James shows us a very concrete and practical Christianity. Faith must be carried out in life, above all in love of neighbor and particularly in commitment to the poor. It is with this background that the famous phrase must be read: "For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). At times this statement of James has been contrasted to Paul's affirmations, according to whom we are rendered just by God not in virtue of our works, but thanks to our faith (cf. Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28).
However, the two phrases, seemingly contradictory in their different perspectives, in reality, if well interpreted, complement one another. St. Paul is opposed to man's pride who thinks he has no need of the love of God which anticipates us; he is opposed to the pride of self-justification without the grace simply given and not merited. St. James speaks instead of works as the normal fruit of faith: "The sound tree bears good fruit," says the Lord (Matthew 7:17). And St. James repeats it and says it to us.
Finally, the Letter of James exhorts us to abandon ourselves into God's hands in everything we do, always pronouncing the words: "If the Lord wills" (James 4:15). Thus he teaches us not to presume to plan our lives in an autonomous and selfish way, but to make room for the inscrutable will of God, who knows the true good for us. In this way, St. James is always a timely teacher of life for each one of us.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father read the following summary in English:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our weekly catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry, we now turn to the Apostle James the Less. In the Gospels, James is called the son of Alphaeus. He is often identified with another James, known as "James the younger" (cf. Mark 15:40), or "James, the brother of the Lord" (cf. Matthew 13:55; Galatians 1:19).
The Gospels themselves do not relate anything about either James during our Lord's earthly ministry. The Acts of the Apostles, however, present[s] a "James" whom St. Paul names with Peter as a "column" of the Church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9). At the Council of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15), it was James who proposed that the Gentiles converted to Christ not be forced to follow all the precepts of the Mosaic law.
Together with Peter, he thus enabled Gentile Christians to maintain their identity, while respecting the perennially valid relationship between Christianity and its Jewish origins. James also gave his name to the New Testament Letter of James, which continues to speak to us today, stressing the need for a living faith expressed in good works (2:26), and serene abandonment to the will of God (4:15).
[The Pope then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
I am pleased to greet the English-speaking pilgrims present at this audience, particularly those from the Philippines and the United States of America. On this eve of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, I pray that all of you may be filled with the same zeal for Christ that inspired the two holy apostles. May God bless you during your stay in the Eternal City.
It's Fast Eddie!
Unites States cardinals William Henry Keeler (L) and Edward Michael Egan attend Pope Benedict XVI's weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 28, 2006. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)
Pope Benedict XVI gives his blessing during his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 28, 2006. in the photo Unites States cardinals William Henry Keeler (2nd L) and Edward Michael Egan (1st R). (Daniele Colarieti/CPP)
Are the unnamed Cardinals in photo #3, from left to right, Rigali, Mahony and McCarrick?
Please let me know if you want to be on or off of this list.
James the Great last week. I am saving these.
I can't see the photo well enough to ID McCarrick.
Thus he teaches us not to presume to plan our lives in an autonomous and selfish way, but to make room for the inscrutable will of God, who knows the true good for us.
The one closest to Papa looks like Mahony. And then to his left looks like McCarrick.
Tony Hendra had quite a bit on Jameses. According to him, there were James the Greater, James the Lesser, and James the Mediocre.
The author of "Father Joe?"
That one was from his "Not the Bible". I am ashamed to say that I've never heard of his "Father Joe".
Oy vey. To see the Holy Father in the midst of American snakes...
I am trying to do that. It is much easier said than done (at least for me).
Maybe he is following the counsel to keep one's enemies closer?
NO NEED to be ashamed! I was merely trying to place Tony Hedra --- had to tap my recollection. I had not heard of his "Not in the Bible" so we're even..lol.
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - At the installation Mass of the new Archbishop of Washington, Donald W. Wuerl, Thursday, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the representative of Pope Benedict XVI, was seen giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion Senator and former Presidential candidate John Kerry. The incident was reported by the Catholic News Service (CNS), the official news service of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
CNS states: "During the Mass, Kerry, who supports keeping abortion legal, received Communion in the hand from Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States and Pope Benedict XVI's representative to the U.S. bishops."
LifeSiteNews.com formally requested a clarification from the office of the Apostolic Nuncio. No reply was sent from Archbishop Sambi's office though LifeSiteNews.com was informed that the nuncio received the request for clarification.
LifeSiteNews.com also spoke with the Communications Assistant of the Archdiocese of Washington about the matter. Mark Adkinson indicated that the incident was likely not intentional by indicating that Archbishop Sambi was administering Holy Communion on the side where the dignitaries were seated.
CNS also reported that Archbishop Wuerl shook hands with Senators Kerry and Ted Kennedy as he processed into the church. "During his entrance procession, the archbishop shook hands with Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts, seated side by side in the third row along the center aisle," reported CNS.
However, Adkinson also downplayed the significance of the greetings telling LifeSiteNews.com that the Archbishop shook hands with "hundreds of people" as he processed into the church.
The issue of allowing pro-abortion politicians to receive Holy Communion has loomed large in the Catholic Church in the United States with a committee on the matter having been chaired by former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick concluding only last week. While it was finally decided that bishops should decide for themselves on the matter, the church's canon law and the man who now serves as Pope Benedict XVI have indicated that such politicians "must" be denied communion."
I'm willing to cut the Nuncio some slack. However, Kerry should know better and refrain from receiving Holy Communion. The final outcome doesn't look good for him.
Archbishop Sambi just arrived in the US about 3 months ago, so it's possible he didn't know who John Kerry is. But Kerry knows who and what John Kerry is. Kerry shouldn't have presented himself for Communion.
You'll love THIS, O ... wonderful.