The Feast of St. Philip and St. James

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About the Saints:

Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Philip was one of the first apostles chosen. He was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee. Our Lord found him and said, “Follow me.” Philip was so happy to be with Jesus. He wanted to share his happiness with his friend, Nathaniel. “We have found the one Moses and the prophets wrote about,” Philip explained. “He is Jesus of Nazareth.”

Nathaniel was not at all excited. Nazareth was just a little village. It was not big and important like Jerusalem. So Nathaniel said, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” But Philip did not become angry at his friend’s answer. He just said, “Come and see.” Nathaniel went to see Jesus. After he had spoken with him, he, too, became a zealous follower of the Lord.

St. James was also one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. He was the son of Alpheus and a cousin of Our Lord. After Jesus ascended into heaven, James became the bishop of Jerusalem. People thought so much of him that they called him “James the Just,” which means “James the Holy One.” He is also called “James the Less,” because he was younger than the other apostle named James. The other James was called “James the Greater” because he was older.

The saint of today’s feast was very gentle and forgiving. He prayed very much. He kept begging God to forgive the people who persecuted the followers of Jesus. Even when Our Lord’s enemies were putting him to death, he asked God to pardon them. St. James died a martyr in the year 62.

Collect of the Day:

God Our Father, every year you give us joy on the Festival of the Apostles Philip and James. By the help of their prayers may we share in the suffering, death and resurrection of Your only Son and come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

The First Reading: I Corinthians: 15:1-8: The Lord appeared to James and then to all the Apostles.

The Gospel: John: 14:6-14: Have I been with you so long and yet you do not know me?

Today as on all major Feast Days instead of giving you my commentary on the Day’s Readings, I am going to share with you a Reading form today’s Office of the Readings to reflect on.

Msgr. Ian+

From the treatise On the Prescription of Heretics by Tertullian,

Ch 20,1-9;21,3;22,8-10

The preaching of the Apostles

Our Lord Jesus Christ himself declared what he was, what he had been, how he was carrying out his Father’s will, what obligations he demanded of men. This he did during his earthly life, either publicly to the crowds or privately to his disciples. Twelve of these he picked out to be his special companions, appointed to teach the nations.

One of them fell from his place. The remaining eleven were commanded by Christ, as he was leaving the earth to return to the Father after his resurrection, to go and teach the nations and to baptise them into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The apostles cast lots and added Matthias to their number, in place of Judas, as the twelfth apostle. The authority for this action is to be found in a prophetic psalm of David. After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit which had been promised to them, so that they could work miracles and proclaim the truth, they first bore witness to their faith in Jesus Christ and established churches throughout Judea. They then went out into the whole world and proclaimed to the nations the same doctrinal faith.

They set up churches in every city. Other churches received from them a living transplant of faith and the seed of doctrine, and through this daily process of transplanting they became churches. They therefore qualify as apostolic churches by being the offspring of churches that are apostolic.

Every family has to be traced back to its origins. That is why we can say that all these great churches constitute that one original Church of the apostles; for it is from them that they all come. They are all primitive, all apostolic, because they are all one. They bear witness to this unity by the peace in which they all live, the brotherhood which is their name, the fellowship to which they are pledged. The principle on which these associations are based is common tradition by which they share the same sacramental bond.

The only way in which we can prove what the apostles taught – that is to say, what Christ revealed to them – is through those same churches. They were founded by the apostles themselves, who first preached to them by what is called the living voice and later by means of letters.

The Lord had said clearly in former times: I have many more things to tell you, but you cannot endure them now. But he went on to say: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into the whole truth. Thus Christ shows us that the apostles had full knowledge of the truth, for he had promised that they would receive the whole truth through the Spirit of truth. His promise was certainly fulfilled, since the Acts of the Apostles prove that the Holy Spirit came down on them.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, you give us the joy every year of celebrating the Feast Day of the Apostles Philip and James. Make us partners, by their prayers in the passion and resurrection of Your only begotten Son, so that we may come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

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