SS PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES (Feast) Red
First Reading: 1Cor 15:1-8; Psalm: 19. R. v. 5a; Gospel: Jn 14:6-14
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.” These were the words of Jesus to his disciples as he explained his indivisibility with the Father when Philip asked him, “Show us the Father” (Jn 14:12). Jesus was highlighting that the Father works through him; and will continue to work through those who believe in him. The apostles would go on later to do greater works in their various missions fulfilling what Jesus had earlier said. Today, we celebrate two of these apostles – Philip and James.
Philip was that apostle who after responding to the call of Jesus went and called Nathaniel to “Come and see” (Jn 1:46). By this very action, Philip showed he was a man who had passion to bring others to Christ. The post-Pentecost Philip would continue this call of bringing others to Christ as he preached in Greece and died 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 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, increase our love for you and for the gospel. Amen.