Feast Of Saints Philip And James
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Today is the feast of Saints Philip and James. Although there is no special reason behind the unification of St. Philip and St. James’ memorial, these apostles both their shared lives radically devoted to the Gospel and paid the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom for their faith. In the sixth century, the bodies of Sts. Philip and James were brought to Rome from the East and were laid to rest in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. Since they arrived together at the same location, the Church instituted a single feast day for both apostles.
St. Philip, The Apostle, ought not to be confused with Philip the Evangelist, the deacon of the early Church who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in the desert (Acts 8). The day after the Lord called the first apostles, Peter and Andrew, He found Philip in Galilee.
Philip believed in Christ as soon as he encountered Him, after hearing only a couple of words. So powerful was Philip’s newfound faith that he felt compelled to bring another into Christ’s fellowship, too. In response to Philip’s invitation, Nathanael responds, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” This question prompts Philip to deliver one of his most memorable lines in Scripture, “Come and see” (Jn 1:46). Philip implies that to have faith in the Messiah, one must encounter Christ personally.
As for St. James, Son of Alphaeus: We really know nothing of this man except his name, and, of course, the fact that Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 pillars of the New Israel, his Church. He is not the James of Acts, son of Cleopas, “brother” of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem and the traditional author of the Letter of James. James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, also an apostle and known as James the Greater.
The challenge for each one of us, life-long followers as we may be or newly commissioned disciples, is to not take this relationship for granted, but rather to keep growing in faith. “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you still do not know me?” asks Jesus of Philip.
In all, the apostles suffered and were persecuted but they placed their confidence in God and now they rejoice in heaven. We too must have confidence in God and not be troubled by our adversities. In our Father’s house, there are many mansions and if we follow the way indicated by Him, Christ will come at the end of our life and take us to Himself.
Fr Joseph Osho