St. James the Far-sighted or “I see the Messiah”


Matthew 13:53-58 “53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.

54 He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power?55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?”57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.”58 And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.”

A friend of mine told me about a study about small airplanes that have to make emergency landings on roads toavoid crashing. It was a neuropsychological study on the people in the cars onthe roads where the planes are landing. They never see the plane, not untilwell after the incident is over. Time and time again, they don’t see the plane.Our brains seem to create a blind spot around what we couldn’t possibly expect,or maybe even assume to be impossible. We just can’t see it.

This morning we celebrate the feastof St. James, first bishop of Jerusalem, likely brother of Jesus and possibleauthor of the epistle that bears his name. James the righteous, James the just,James Adelphatheos, and, let me coin a new one today, James the Far-sighted. Hegot to live beside Jesus his whole life, probably shared countless meals, grewup together, hung out with him during his ministry, but never really jumped onboard with the whole ‘son of God’ part.  Well, not never. Because after Jesus was crucified  and resurrected, he then saw hisbrother for who he was- a savior. Thesavior. St. James the farsighted.  

If we were to have a movie madeabout Jesus’ life as told through James’ point of view, it would have to bedirected by M. Night Shamalan. Do you know who I’m talking about? His moviesare known for having a huge twist at the end where the audience learnssomething really big that was true for the whole movie. You go back and watchit again and it’s so clear: of course Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole time.And for James, of course Jesus was the Messiah the whole time.

The gospel reading today would bean important scene in the movie. Jesus up there preaching and all his townspeoplecan see is that kid they knew, maybe an acne-ridden teenager clumsily trying tolearn to be carpenter like his father. Messiah? Son of God? Ha! They don’t seethe plane.

I’m reluctant to put any blame onbrother James because I know how easy it’d be to make the same mistakes myself.God works so seamlessly, sometimes I don’t see it until all is said and done.That’s okay. Perhaps God’s dreams are so big and perfect that our tiny brainscan only begin to maybe understand it with our proverbial ‘20/20 hindsight’.

What does that mean for today?Are  there any spiritualoptometrists for our far-sightedness? Let me know if you find one, but untilthen, we have this not-so-easy thing called faith. We hold close to faith andlet go of the expectations and assumptions of how God works and what Jesuslooks like. And trust. Trust that God’s grace is enough. Amen. 


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