Friday, May 3, 2013

St Philip and St James

St Philip and St James

Even though it was not Jesus’ intention for this to happen, but the apostles tend to categorize themselves. Peter, James and John were chosen on a few occasions to be close to Jesus, at the Transfiguration, in the Garden of Olives, and during other miracles. Then there are those who are less popular, like Thomas, Andrew, Bartholomew, Matthew. Then there are those about whom we know very little - in fact their feast-days are combined, like St Simon and St Jude, and today’s feastday St Philip and St James (son of Alphaeus.) We know very little about them, but it’s enough to know that Jesus called them and then sent them on their mission to evangelize. Even though Peter denied him and Judas betrayed him, the others all remained faithful to their Master, and with the exception of St John, they all died a martyr’s death, suffering for their Master till the end. 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. He was made Bishop of Jerusalem and died there in 62 AD.
St Philip and St James represented in an old Icon

 Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. Like the other apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize who Jesus was. On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. On another occasion, we can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice. After Thomas had complained that they did not know where Jesus was going, Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the Life...If you know me, then you will also know my Father.” Then Philip said, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” “Enough!” Jesus answered, “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” This is a challenge to us too - sometimes we take our Lord for granted. We’ve experienced miracles, we’ve heard his touching words, and at times remain skeptical of His intervention in our lives. There is another occasion where St Philip appears talking and eventually baptizing the eunuch who was traveling in a caravan. This incident is reported by St Luke in the Acts of the Apostles.

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