The Gospel reading for the Feast of Saints Philip and James is John 14:6-14. 

Christ continues His Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33) in Jerusalem during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After Christ confirms He is the exclusive way to the Father and that He and the Father are one, Philip, confused, asks for Christ to “show us the Father and we shall be satisfied.” Christ rebukes Philip (and by extension, all the Apostles) for his ignorance and disbelief. To break through, Christ challenges the Apostles to accept the evidence of His Divinity: His works and miracles are proof that the Father dwells in Him and that He and the Father are one.  

Philip was one of the first (John 1:43) to be called by Christ (and was a leader (mentioned 5th in the Apostolic line up): it was Philip who evangelized Nathanael (John 1:45), told Christ they didn’t have enough money for the Feeding of the 5000 (John 6:7) and the Apostle some Greeks went to in an attempt to speak with Christ (John 12:20-21). Tradition holds that Philip evangelized in Greece and as far north as Frisia (modern day Netherlands); he was martyred by crucifixion or stoning and his relics continue to be venerated in the Basilica Santi Apostoli in Rome.

On this feast day, James the son of Alphaeus, also called James the Lesser, is celebrated with Philip. James was from Nazareth and a close relative of Christ (called a brother, meaning cousin). James played a prominent role in the early Church: he authors the Epistle of James and declares that pagan converts would not be required to be circumcised (Acts 15:13-21). Tradition holds that James was stoned to death by the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem; his relics continue to be venerated at the Basilica of Santi Apostoli in Rome and at St. James Cathedral in Jerusalem. 

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ reveals that He and the Father are one. Son of God, Christ confirms that the Father has given Him the supernatural power to perform miracles and to give that power to those who ask in His name. Divine Prophet, Christ reveals that those who believe in Him will perform great miracles. Divine King, Christ rebukes and commands His Apostles to carry out His will.  

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at Christ’s power to not only perform supernatural miracles but to grant mere men the power to perform even greater miracles.  

2) God is beyond the ability of men to fully grasp so it is not surprising that men become confused by Christ’s mysteries. On this feast day, reflect on the Mysteries of Christ (CCC 514-521) and pray for Christ to give you the faith to believe what you don’t fully understand. 

3) In the day-to-day battle of life, men can forget about the powerful champions Christ has given men in the Saints. Renew your understanding of the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and pray for Christ to help you to be strengthened by your patron Saint(s) (CCC 2165, 2156) and those Saints who can help you prevail over your life challenges.