Thursday, 3 May 2018 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast day of two of Christ’s great Apostles, counted among the Twelve. St. Philip was the Apostle renowned for his great intellect and wisdom even prior to being called by the Lord, and he was the one credited in the Acts of the Apostles for the baptism of the Ethiopian official. Meanwhile, St. James the Apostle, the one known as St. James the Lesser or St. James son of Alpheus, was relatively little mentioned in the Scriptures, but was credited with many evangelisation work in various places.

In today’s first reading, St. Paul, another Apostle spoke a testimony of his faith in the Lord, telling the faithful in the city of Corinth about how the Apostles were the beginning and the foundation of the Church, as they witnessed the events surrounding the life of Jesus, His ministry, His marvellous works and miracles, His suffering and Passion, His crucifixion and death, and then, His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven.

In the Gospel today, the Lord also spoke to His disciples and the Twelve Apostles, about Himself, and the truth about Himself, as the Messiah and the Son of God, the One promised to all of mankind by God ever since the beginning of time. But at that time, as St. Philip uttered to the Lord, “Show us the Father”, the disciples were still unable to comprehend all the things that the Lord had shown them, despite all the deeds and miracles He had done before them.

The Lord taught them and opened their eyes, and later on, after His resurrection, He sent them the Holy Spirit, Who descended on them and dwelled in them, giving them the strength and the courage to go on with their appointed mission, preaching the Good News of the Gospel to the people all over the world. They carried on God’s truth upon the people living in ignorance and darkness, and despite the challenges they faced, they remained strong and faithful.

But as we have seen, the Apostles were not strong people at the start, and neither were they very firm in their faith. They were once also ignorant, and many of them were called by the Lord from the most undesirable of origins, at least according to the standards of the time. Some of them were uneducated fishermen of the lake of Galilee, while others were murderers and rebels, and one was a tax collector.

Yet, it was not mankind who decided what one would become, as man often looked only at the superficial matters and not at the heart and the mind. But God looked inside the heart and the mind, and He saw in the Apostles, a heart with the capacity for faith, for hope and for love. It was all these qualities which eventually allowed them to be open to God working His power and wonders through them.

Now, all of us have to realise that each and every one of us as Christians must also walk in the same path as those Apostles had walked. They dedicated their whole lives to the Lord, caring for the needs of the Church and all the faithful. All of us are also called to this same mission, as the works of the Apostles are still ongoing and not yet completed. There are still more people out there who have not yet heard of the Word of God and the Good News of His salvation.

And how do we carry on our lives from now on then? It is not by going to the streets and preach openly about God. Rather, we must be thoroughly transformed in our lives, just as the Apostles had been, in all of our words, actions and deeds, so that, others may see us and believe in God through us. We are all called to be active disciples of the Lord, living out our faith through our daily actions.

Let us all draw ever closer to the Lord, and be ever more faithful, day after day, inspired by the courage and the faith of the Apostles. Let us all seek to love the Lord ever more devoutly, and find our way to bring greater glory of God through all we do in our lives. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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