“Day unto day pours forth speech; night unto night whispers knowledge.” (Psalm 19:3)
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of Ss. Philip and James (May 3, 2022): 1 COR 15:1-8; PS 19:2-3,4-5; JN 14:6-14
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
By tradition, we believe that Philip and James set out to preach the message of Christ’s mercy and eternal life...
This feast day commemorates two of Christ’s Apostles, Ss. Philip and James. The Gospel tells us that Philip was a neighbor of the brothers Ss. Peter and Andrew from the town of Bethsaida, although it is not known whether or not he, too, was a fisherman. In addition, there were two Apostles who are named James. The one honored today appears to be referred to as James the Less or the Lesser, most likely because he was younger than the other. Alpheus was his father and Mary of Clopas, his mother. She may have been a relative of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and was one of the women who supported the Blessed Virgin at His death. When the Apostles are listed in the Gospels he see these two men mentioned. Philip is also mentioned in the Gospel reading today, at Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fish, and when some Greeks wanted him to introduce them to our Lord. In the first reading for this day, St. Paul gives an account of some of the appearances of Jesus after His Resurrection, saying, “That Christ died for our sins; … He was buried; that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once. … After that He appeared to James, then to all the Apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).
By tradition, we believe that Philip and James set out to preach the message of Christ’s mercy and eternal life, eventually being martyred for their dedication to Him. At some point, in the early centuries of the Church their relics were carried to Rome where they were placed in a church named for them. When a new church replaced it perhaps a thousand years later, it was renamed to venerate all the Apostles. It is called the Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles and still holds the relics of Ss. Philip and James.
Suggested missionary action: On this feast day, we can pray to Ss. Philip and James asking them to assist the work of all the Church’s missionaries today. We can also ask their help in showing us how to share the Gospel with others through our own lives.