Festival of St. James of Jerusalem: Brother of Our Lord
Heavenly Father, Shepherd of Your people, You raised up James the Just, brother of our Lord, to lead and guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We Meditate on Holy Scripture
James is without doubt the Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9-12) and the author of the first Catholic Epistle. His identity with James the Less (Mark 15:40) and the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18), although contested by many Protestant critics, may also be considered as certain. There is no reasonable doubt that in Galatians 1:19: “But other of the apostles [besides Cephas] I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord”, St. Paul represents James as a member of the Apostolic college. The purpose for which the statement is made, makes it clear that the “apostles” is to be taken strictly to designate the Twelve, and its truthfulness demands that the clause “saving James” be understood to mean, that in addition to Cephas, St. Paul saw another Apostle, “James the brother of the Lord” (cf. Acts 9:27). Besides, the prominence and authority of James among the Apostles (Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9; in the latter text he is even named before Cephas) could have belonged only to one of their number. Now there were only two Apostles named James: James the son of Zebedee, and James the son of Alpheus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). The former is out of the question, since he was dead at the time of the events to which Acts 15:6 ssq., and Galatians 2:9-12 refer (cf. Acts 12:2). James “the brother of the Lord” is therefore one with James the son of Alpheus, and consequently with James the Less, the identity of these two being generally conceded. (From the Catholic Cyclopedia of the Church)