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. Jul 2021 .
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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Homilies/Reflections

The Memorial of Saints Philip and James
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK

It is interesting to compare the personalities of Philip and James, as in today's first reading and Gospel give us information about them. Seeing James in charge at the first Church Council in Jerusalem surprises many people, who think exclusively of Peter as leading the Church after Christ. Yes, Peter did preach bravely at Pentecost and then spread the Gospel message in various places, including Antioch and Rome. By contrast, James of Jerusalem is rarely mentioned in the Gospels. When he spoke, people listened and his views made strong impression on them. James was a man of great dignity whom the early Church nicknamed “James the Just.” Such was his personality that when Peter set off on apostolic mission abroad, James was elected leader of the local Christians in Jerusalem. While Philip has a somewhat higher profile, even though he hardly features at all in Acts the of Apostles.

Philip is listed alongside Bartholomew among the Twelve in each of the Synoptic Gospels, but it is the fourth Evangelist, John, who gives us some specific, sympathetic stories about Philip. He was among the first disciples to be “found” by Jesus and to hear the call: “Follow me.” Philip in his turn “finds” Nathanael or Bartholomew and commends Jesus to his friend as “the one about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote”; and repeats to his friend the same words used by Jesus to invite people into His company, “Come and see” (Jn 1:46). We may regard him as person-centred and with a disposition towards sharing what he has found; a man to spread God’s blessings in a generous way. Christian traditions describe Philip as having preached in Greece, Syria and Phrygia. The words of Philip to Jesus in today’s Gospel, “Lord, let us see the Father and we shall be satisfied,” might well resonate with us. Perhaps we may also sense that we will really only be satisfied when we see God. Yet Jesus replies to Philip that God the Father whom he longs to see he already sees in Jesus, “to have seen me is to have seen the Father.” In those words, Jesus satisfies our deepest longings for God. Jesus has shown us the face of God in Himself, in His life, death and resurrection. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus we will see the face of God and the Heaven for which we long will become a present reality. Jesus reminds us that we have already been given a great deal. What we need to do is to appreciate what we have been given, to experience the presence of God in the person of Jesus who is with us always until the end of time; He is with us in His word, in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and in each other.

May the Lord cleanse our hearts from every stain of sin and bring us light and joy! Amen!! Good morning and have a fruitful week!!!

 
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