The Holy Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Sts. Philip and James. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Charity so he can increase his witness for Jesus and by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can always rely on the intercession of the Saints.
Feast of Sts. Philip and James – May 3 – Jn 14:6-14
Jesus continues His Farewell Discourse (Jn 13:31-16:33) in Jerusalem during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. Despite Jesus’ supernatural revelations of His betrayal, Passion, and the triumph of His Resurrection, the Apostles are confused and deathly afraid, and Jesus seeks to comfort them. He confirms His absolute Dominion, revealing He is the “way”, “the life” and the “truth”, and that He has the exclusive power to grant men eternal life. Jesus reconfirms He and God the Father are one and mysteriously promises He will return and bring them to Heaven.
Philip was one of the first (Jn 1:43) to be called by Jesus, and was a leader who is mentioned 5th in rank in the Apostolic lineup: it was Philip who evangelized Nathanael (Jn 1:45), told Jesus they did not have enough money for the Feeding of the 5000 (Jn 6:7), and was the Apostle the Greeks approached to help them attempt to speak directly with Jesus (Jn 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 was a close relative of Jesus, who was called a brother of Jesus, meaning cousin. James played a prominent role in the early Church: he authored the Epistle of James and declared 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.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by how Jesus Christ teaches men how to become great men of God: Son of the Father, Jesus is the Perfection of Manhood; Perfection of Virtue, everything Jesus says and does gives men a perfect model to imitate; Divine Knowledge, Jesus ensures that the saints recorded His life in abundant detail in the Gospels so that all men across time could learn how to be saints directly from His example; Divine King and greatest Leader of men, Jesus creates, calls and strengthens heroic men like St. Philip and St. James to build His Kingdom.
Increase your witness for Jesus
Realize: St. Philip and St. James effectively evangelized others by talking to individuals (Nathanael), by their work (the Epistle of St. James), by preaching (Greece, Jerusalem), and by martyrdom.
Believe: Reflect upon being a Missionary Witness (CCC 2044-2051).
Pray: Sts. Philip and James, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Charity so I begin to speak more people about Jesus each day, and I am led to more ways to draw men to Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church (catechist, good works, speaker, writer, etc.).
Seek the intercession of the Saints
Realize: In the Communion of Saints, every Catholic man is blessed to be able to strive to imitate and seek the intercession of the Saints, the greatest human beings who have ever lived.
Believe: Reflect upon the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and Patron Saints (CCC 2156, 2165).
Pray: Sts. Philip and James, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I honor the Saints and I develop a veneration for those Saints who can help in my own particular struggles in the Spiritual Combat.