Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: James, brother of John the Evangelist

“Tradition tells us that the Apostle Iakovos, the brother of Saint John the Evangelist, at the time that he was being led to his martyrdom, met the man who had betrayed him. He stopped him and kissed him, saying: “Live in peace, brother.”

“Seeing such meekness, the betrayer marveled and exclaimed with enthusiasm: “I, too, am a Christian from this day on.”

“After this confession, he was beheaded along with the Apostle.”

Forgiveness and love are two very powerful spiritual qualities. One cannot forgive without having first embraced a life of love and one one has not truly embraced a life of love if one refuses to forgive.

True forgiveness and true love have a powerful effect. We see this effect in Jesus’ victory over sin and death.  We see it here as James, brother of John, forgives his betrayer with such sincerity that it causes an immediate conversion and martyrdom.

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