It is 25th July 2018. We celebrate the Feast of St James, the Apostle. The readings are from 2 Corinthians 4:7-15; and the Gospel from Matthew 20:20-28. St. James, the Greater, who was called by Jesus along with his brother St. John. He had the privilege of being the witness of the Transfiguration and the Agony of the Lord. He was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I and became the first martyr for Christ among the Apostles. We are human that holds the divine within. We are vulnerable yet we carry the treasures of God right within. Our life here on earth is indeed an opportunity to bring out the resilient stand for Christ and His values. Being a believer means to testify, speak out and stand tall for Christ at all occasions. Our faith in the Lord needs to be proved daily by the way we walk for the Lord. Persecutions, abuses, ill-treatments on account of our faith is obvious today. We must not be engaging in activities that oppose those who persecute us just because we believe in the Lord Jesus. Even within the Church, we could be persecuted for the stand we take and the principles we hold dear to our souls. Yes, we are so vulnerable yet we are vibrantly veracious. We do not need to compromise the value of the Kingdom with those who promote destructive and self-defeating activities. In the first reading, St. Paul so beautiful articulates, “We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. So that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” (2 Cor. 4:7,10). The responsorial Psalm intercedes, “Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” (Ps.126:5). The Gospel presents the request of the mother of James who wanted a special place for her sons in the Kingdom of the Lord. Jesus instructed them that His kingdom is that of service, suffering and personal sanctification. There is nothing for free including Heaven. One needs to suffer, sacrifice and submit to the will of God in spreading the Gospel by word and deed. None of us go to Heaven just because we have accepted the invitation of the Lord to accompany Him. Our life and character that we have demonstrated among the people needs to manifest that we are not seeking after money, power, influence and positions. Our faithfulness, honesty, sincerity, transparency, and willingness to serve the humanity are the basic requirements to reach Heaven. One who hates to suffer and sacrifice will never reach Heaven. What sacrifice have we made so far in our life for Christ? The ambitions we have as followers cannot contradict the vision of Christ in training ourselves to be humble servants to the humanity. Christianity is little more than taking up one’s own cross. Christianity offers the leverage to carry the cross of the other while not neglecting our own. “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.” (Mt.20:28). May we be able to make some sacrifices for our salvation and for the betterment of the world around. May you have a good day. God bless you.