May 3 – Feast of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles
Philip was a disciple of St. John the Baptist, and a convert. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and brought St. Nathanael to Christ. He was a confidant of Jesus’. Little is known about him, but scriptural episodes give the impression of a shy, naïve, but practical individual. He preached in Greece and Asia Minor, and died a martyr for the faith.
James the Lesser was the cousin of Jesus, and brother of St. Jude Thaddeus. He was raised in a Jewish home of the time with all the training in Scripture and Law that was part of that life. He was a convert, and one of the Twelve Apostles. He was one of the first to have visions of the risen Christ.
He was the first bishop of Jerusalem. He met with St. Paul the Apostle to work out Paul’s plans for evangelization. He supported the position that Gentile converts did not have to obey all Jewish religious law, though he continued to observe it himself as part of his heritage. He may have been a vegetarian. He was a just and apostolic man known for his prayer life and devotion to the poor.
He was martyred for his faith in c.62 when he was thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem, and then stoned and beaten with clubs while praying for his attackers. Having been beaten to death, a club almost immediately became his symbol, leading to his patronage of fullers and pharmacists, both of whom use clubs in their professions.
He is reported to have spent so much time in prayer that his knees thickened, and looked like a camel’s. Soon after the Crucifixion, James said he would fast until Christ returned; the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, and fixed a meal for James Himself.
- Patron Saint Index
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.
Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.
Jesus said to Thomas:
‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?
‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me
will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it.’
It was as though I was born when no one expected it
This particular Lenten season has been an unusual one for me in the sense that I have been swamped with ‘work’, not of the usual kind, but rather work in ministry. Getting a budget approved, having to rework the various quotes, being present for meetings and also supporting a weekend seminar by having to rally some members to help with AV support. Not to mention editing the many more readings that have come in – all that would have, in the past, floored me.
However, I found myself sharing with my discipleship group about how He has spoken so powerfully to me, encouraging me on. And being there for others (I even found time for a quick getaway with a close buddy for 6 days). During the past few weeks, I have grieved the loss of a colleague’s father who passed away suddenly, and also someone with one of the best voices around who tragically died from cancer, leaving behind two young children. There are also other personal burdens to shoulder, and ‘errands’ to run. Yet all this time, I have managed to find comfort and solace in His merciful love.
It was as if I finally learnt to appreciate Christ’s sacrifice for all humanity and to truly believe in His saving passion for ALL of us – yes, each and everyone of us who is hurting, grieving, complaining, searching for answers to our various predicaments. In coming to know Him more, He has rewarded me with gifts of people who have reached out in hope. A new opportunity to serve at an upcoming retreat for young adults, a new contributor to our incredible online ministry, a new chance to work with a group of members who are full of zeal. I even went to another parish for Good Friday service and discovered a new choir whose voices moved me to tears.
In almost every situation that would have brought despair, I have managed to find hope. Or rather, HE has shown me hope.
Indeed, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have all been born again. His death gives us hope; hope that through whatever darkness we are journeying, there is light at the end and in emerging into that light, we are created new.
Brothers and sisters, as Easter people, we believe that Christ is born again in our hearts each day we arise. Let us go forth in hope and spread that hope to others around us who live in despair.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Dear Father, we pray that we take each day as an opportunity to spread your love and your Word to others around us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for resurrecting hope in our hearts each and every day we celebrate the eucharist.