Friday, 3 May 2013 : 5th Week of Easter, Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles (Scripture Reflection)

Christ did not die, but He lives. He did not die a death that lasts, since He was risen by God the Father from the land of the dead, as the firstborn from the dead, the first One to rise from death and conquer death itself, to prove that death does not have the final say, and neither Satan, the evil one, has final say over us, and all creation.

For Christ, through His death and then His resurrection, made all creations new, and He rejuvenated all of creation, by the shedding of His Most Precious Body and Blood, which He offered as a perfect and unblemished sacrifice that day on the cross on Calvary. The Lamb of God, the Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed for us, and has been found worthy, that we too, can be found worthy by God, our Father.

We are the sons and daughters of God, our Father, and therefore we should also be like our Father, who is good and perfect. Yet, sadly, we had been tainted by the evils of sin, by the disobedience of Adam our forefather, and Eve, his wife, being seduced by Satan, the deceiver. But God did not want  us to suffer death and eternal separation from Himself, and He wants us to be once again worthy of Him who is good and perfect.

Christ became the new Adam who renewed mankind’s contract with God, by providing them with a new life through the Spirit, but this time, He completed and made perfect that union between God and mankind, sealed through His own blood, as He is fully man and fully divine, indivisible and one. Christ came so that we can have hope once again, of life in the Spirit. God breathed life into mankind by His Spirit, that is His breath, but mankind squandered that life and made it imperfect by their disobedience.

The Blood of the Lamb that is sacrificed on the cross justifies all those who believe in the One sent by God, that is Christ, once again, and made them whole, just like the days before the fall of mankind. He then was resurrected from the dead and became the living proof and truth of all that He Himself had brought and taught to all those who had listened to Him and His preaching,

Today, we commemorate the feast day of the two apostles of Christ, in both St. Philip and St. James, both of whom became His witnesses to the entire world. They preached the Good News of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, which are indeed Good News, for they brought the long-awaited redemption to all mankind who believes in God and in Christ, His Son.

St. Philip and St. James worked hard to spread the Good News of the Lord to the many peoples of their time, and they converted many to the cause of Christ. Philip once told and explained the Word of God to the emissary of the ruler of Ethiopia, and converted him through the word of God and baptism. They did many other good things, just as Christ Himself had said, that those who belong to God, will do just like what the Lord Himself had done, that is what Christ had done in His short life and ministry in this world.

St. James, who was also called James the Just, became the first leader of the Christians in Jerusalem, becoming its first bishop and was one of the most important leaders of early Christendom with Peter, the leader of all the apostles and disciples.

Both of them endured rejection, persecution, and intense suffering for their service of the Lord, and they ultimately faced death with courage, in their ministry and in their defense of their faith in God. They had done well in this earth, and were rewarded with eternal life with Christ that is their due. Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we follow in their footsteps? The footsteps of the apostles and many other holy men and women who had walked the same path in following the example of Christ in doing God’s commandments and what is good in His eyes?

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us strive to be more like these holy apostles, and follow in their footsteps, to be always courageous in proclaiming the Word of God and the Good News, to our fellow men, and to explain them to our brethren in faith, who are wavering in their faith in God. For in our world today, there is still a great need, if not greater than ever, for evangelisation, to bring light to many in our world, darkened by sin.

May God bless us and strengthen our faith and love, and may His holy apostles and saints pray for us and watch over us. Pray for us, St. Philip and St. James, apostles, that we may be more like you and can dedicate ourselves to Christ our Lord, ever more. Amen.