These two Apostles remind us that all who follow Christ are called to share our faith with those who do not yet know His mercy
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
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Like the others, Ss. Philip and James gave themselves completely to be His disciples.
Today we salute two of Christ’s Apostles about whom we have only bits and pieces of information in the New Testament. St. Philip came from Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. This was the same town where Ss. Peter and Andrew lived, and Philip was called by Jesus to follow Him shortly after the two brothers were. St. James is usually called the Lesser to distinguish him from another Apostle of that name who may have been older. He was the son of Alpheus and of Mary of Clopas who may have been related to the Blessed Virgin Mary and who stood with her during the Crucifixion.
In the Gospel today we hear Philip addressing Jesus during His Last Supper discourses. Our Lord has just told the Apostles that if they know Him they also know the Father. For Philip this does not seem to be enough. He asks for more -- a great deal more. “Philip said to Him, ‘Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? …Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or else, believe because of the works themselves” (John 14:8-11). Like all the other Apostles except St. John, Philip and James are believed to have been martyred for sharing their faith in Christ. St. Philip is thought to have been killed in northern Africa, perhaps Carthage; St. James possibly in Egypt. Even though they are not known to have journeyed or worked together in life, they are linked on this day because their relics were brought to Rome and in the 6th century a church containing them was dedicated in their honor. After an earthquake, centuries later, another church was built there. It is now known as the Santi Apostoli or the Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles; and it is where the remains of Ss. Philip and James are still honored.