Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, apostles

2019 Devotions Daily Devotions

1Cor 15:1-8; Ps 19:2-5; Jn 14:6-14:  If their voice, the voice of the apostles, the voice of Philip and James is to resound to the ends of the earth, then they must speak of the mysteries unspeakable. They must shout the bright light of the New Day that has dawned in the Risen Christ; they must whisper the quiet night of the tender mercies that has fallen upon the Church. Indeed, day pours out and night imparts the knowledge from above, from the Sent One, Jesus Christ, who sees The Father, who sends the Holy Spirit. This same apostolic witness was first received and then handed on from those, like James who had seen the Risen Lord. Even though these apostles saw the Lord Jesus some like Philip did still did not know him. Back then, and even now, the Holy Spirit must breathe sight into our eyes so that we can see what no one can see and still breathe. Indeed, we are breathless until the Spirit breathes in us to proclaim the glory of God and declare the wonders of the paschal mysteries.

Saint Paul writes to the Corinthians reminding them of the gospel he had preached to them. This gospel was received by them and continued to save as long as they had retained it, as I preached it to you. The only other option Saint Paul mentioned is that the early converts believed in vain. Indeed, such a danger still plagues believers in our day. It’s to be expected as the Master explained to us in his parables about the Sower and the Seed. The initial excitement, which comes from hearing the good news of Easter, can all too easily give way to overwhelming threats and dangers. Then the soil is not deep enough or strong enough to hold onto the seedling and nourish its growth in the blazing heat of day or ever-present danger of drought. This section of Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is proclaimed on this feast of the apostles because we need to retain the faith that was preached to us. Like the early believers we too must rely upon the eyewitnesses, and grow as witnesses of faith. Indeed we are even more blessed to believe even though we have not seen what the apostles Philip and James saw.

Saint Philip was not sure that the meager supply of bread and fish would satisfy the hunger of the crowds before the miracle of the loaves. In today’s gospel, Philip is not sure that seeing the Lord Jesus throughout his ministry was enough to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the apostles. Those who had been with him through so much of his teaching and miracles still could not see with eyes of faith. So Philip made this request, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. The Lord Jesus knew that Philip, the other apostles and contemporary believers as well just didn”t get the message: Do you not know that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? Can we not see that Christ’s acts of compassion reveal the heart of the Father who continues to work in history to reveal his power and his presence? Jesus exhorts us that only if we believe in this unity between the Father and the Son are we able to accept our union with him. Our union with Christ will enable us to do far greater things than Jesus because we will be doing his will, which is the Father’s will. Saint Philip and all of us, apostles, believe in Christ who continues to work in and through the Eucharist to glorify the Father in the Son. Such an apostolic witness continues day and night.