SS PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES (Feast) Red
1st Reading: 1Cor 15:1-8; Psalm: 19. R. v. 5a; Gospel: Jn 14:6-14
GENUINE LOVE FOR THE GOSPEL
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (Jn 14:12). These were the words of Jesus as he explained his indivisible unity with the Father to his disciples when Philip asked him “Show us the Father.” Jesus was trying to explain to them that the Father works through him. And that he shall also do greater works through whomever believes in him even as he goes back to the Father. The Scriptures would later report how the apostles of Jesus did marvellous works in their various ministries. We celebrate two of these apostles today; Philip and James.
Philip was that apostle who after responding to Jesus’ call to discipleship, called Nathaniel to “Come and see” (Jn 1:46). In this action, we see a man who had passion to bring Christ to others. The post-Pentecost Philip would later on preach in Greece and die for the gospel through crucifixion in the hands of Emperor Domitian around 80AD.
James the Less or James the Younger was another apostle of Jesus who after the Pentecost experience proved his belief in Jesus through his commitment to the gospel. He was the Bishop of Jerusalem for 30 years and spoke at the first Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). When James was 96 years old, he refused to deny the Divinity of Christ before the enemies of the gospel and was thrown from the gallery of the temple and clubbed to death. “As he lay there half dead, with legs broken by the fall, he prayed ‘Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do!’ As he prayed, a fuller struck his head a mortal blow.” (The Breviary, on St James).
When we are committed to a cause, we can give everything. But to put one’s life on the line and die in the process is the height of it. These apostles did only what a sacrificial love (Agape love) can offer. Can we put our lives on the line for the sake of the gospel? “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may we realise that we can do greater things even in the little things we do. Amen.
Uche Edah Philip