The holy apostle James, son of Zebedee, was the brother of St. John the Theologian, and one of the Twelve Apostles. He and his brother, St. John, were called to be Apostles by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who called them the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). It was this James, with John and Peter, who witnessed the Raising of the daughter of Jairus, the Lord’s Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, St. James preached in Spain and other lands before returning to Jerusalem. He openly and boldly preached Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, and he denounces the Pharisees and the Scribes with the words of Holy Scripture, reproaching them for their malice of heart and unbelief.
You were an apostle of Christ and the beloved of John. O praiseworthy James, obtain absolution for those who sing the praises of your memory and find mercy for our souls.
O glorious James, when you heard the Divine Word calling you, you put aside your love for your father and hurried to Christ with your brother, John. Therefore, both of you were made worthy to see the divine Transfiguration of the Lord.
Acts 12: 1-11
In those days King Herod started to harass some of the members of the church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased certain Jews, he took Peter into custody too. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread he had Peter arrested and thrown into prison with four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod intended to bring him before the people after the Passover. Peter was thus detained in prison, while the church prayed fervently to God on his behalf. During the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened in double chains, while guards kept watch at the door. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood nearby and light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. “Hurry, get up!” the angel said. With that, the chains dropped from Peter’s wrists. The angel said, “Put on your belt and your sandals!” This Peter did. Then the angel told him, “Now put on your cloak and follow me.”
Peter followed the angel out, but with no clear realization that this was taking place through the angel’s help. The whole thing seemed to him a mirage. They passed the first guard, then the second, and finally came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them of itself. They emerged and made their way down a narrow alley, when suddenly the angel left him. Peter had recovered his senses by this time, and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s clutches and from all the Jews hoped for.”
Luke 5: 1-11
At that time as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd pressed in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats moored by the side of the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a short distance from the shore; then, remaining seated, he continued to teach the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have been hard at it all night long and have caught nothing; but if you say so, I will lower the nets.” Upon doing this they caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point. They signaled to their mates in the other boats to come and help them. These came, and together they filled the two boats until they nearly sank.
At the sight of this, Simone Peter fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Leave me, Lord. I am a sinful man.” For indeed, amazement at the catch they had made seized him and all his shipmates, as well as James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men.” With that they brought their boats to land, left everything, and became his followers.
Acts 9: 32-42
In those days, when Peter was making numerous journeys, he went -among other places- to God’s holy people living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you! Get up and make you bed.” The man got up at once. All the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon, upon seeing him, were converted to the Lord.
Now in Joppa there was a certain woman convert named Tabotha (in Greek Dorcas, meaning gazelle). Her life was marked by constant good deeds and acts of charity. At about that time she fell ill and died. They washed her body and laid it out in an upstairs room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples who had heard that Peter was there sent two men to him with the urgent request, “Please come over to us without delay.” Peter set out with them as they asked. Upon his arrival they took him upstairs to the room. All the windows came when she was still with them. Peter first made everyone go outside; then he knelt down and prayed. Turning to the dead body, he said, “Tabitha, stand up.” She opened her eyes, then looked at Peter and sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her to her feet. The next thing he did was call in those who were believers and the widows to show them all that she was alive. This became known all over Joppa, and because of it, many came to believe in the Lord.
John 5: 1-15
At that time, on the occasion of a Jewish feast, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Pool there is a place with the Hebrew name Bethesda. Its five porticoes were crowded with sick people lying there blind, lame, or disabled waiting for the movement of the water. There was one man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus, who knew the man had been sick for a long time, said when he saw him lying there, “Do you want to be healed?” “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I do not have anyone to plunge me into the pool once the water has been stirred up. By the time I get there, someone else has gone in ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk!” The man was immediately cured; he picked up his mat and began to walk.
The day was a sabbath. Consequently, some of the Jews began telling the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath, and you are not allowed to carry that mat around.” He explained, “It was the man who cured me who told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “This person who told you to pick it up and walk,” they asked, “who is he?” The man who had been restored to health had no idea who it was. The crowd in that place was so great that Jesus had been able to slip away.
Later on, Jesus found the man in the temple precincts and said to him: “Remember, now, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you.” The man went odd and informed the Jews that Jesus was the one who had cured him.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, April 29 –