Sts. Philip and James, Apostles

Today we celebrate two of the Twelve Apostles, chosen by Our Lord and entrusted with the mission of being witnesses to him, especially his Resurrection, as today’s First Reading reminds us. Today we celebrate James, the son of Alphaeus, sometimes known as James the Lesser, as opposed to James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John the Evangelist, known as James the Greater. In today’s First Reading it makes specific mention of James, apart from the Twelve. It’s not clear which James is being referred to here, but it is clear that James is being named as an Apostle who received the grace of seeing the Risen Lord, to whom he may also have been related (see Galatians 1:19, Matthew 13:55).

Philip, as the Gospel reminds us today, needed a little time to process what Our Lord was trying to teach regarding the Holy Trinity; Jesus told him, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” He didn’t yet grasp that seeing Our Lord was also seeing the Father; he was seeing God, and Son and Father, along with the Holy Spirit, is God.

There are two Philips found in the New Testament. There are two James, possibly three found throughout the New Testament, and two of them are Apostles. It’s not important to keep track, of who’s who, but to remember that each Apostle should rejoice, as Our Lord taught, because their “names are written in Heaven” (Luke 10:20). Let’s pray today that through their intercession and inspired by their witness that our names will be written in Heaven as well.

Readings: 1 Corinthians 15:1–8; Psalm 19:2–5; John 14:6–14. See also 4th Week of Easter, Friday.