Monday, 3 May 2021 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all celebrate the feast of two of the great Apostles of Our Lord, namely St. Philip as well as St. James, son of Alpheus, also known as St. James the Lesser, to distinguish him from the brother of St. John, St. James the Greater. Both Apostles laboured and worked hard to serve the Lord and brought His Good News to the far corners of the world. Today as we celebrate their memory, we remember these faithful men who had given their all and their whole lives in service to God.

St. Philip was one of the close followers of Christ, remembered for being the one who consulted with the Lord regarding the feeding of the five thousand men on how to feed all the people with just five loaves of bread and two fishes. He witnessed everything that the Lord has been doing, all the miracles and wonders He has shown before all the people, His truth and wisdom. Then, after the resurrection, St. Philip was instrumental in revealing the faith and truth to an Ethiopian official on his way back from Jerusalem to his homeland, and managed to persuade the official to ask for baptism.

Afterwards, St. Philip also ministered to the people of God in various places, and according to Apostolic tradition, he evangelised and preached about the Lord in places like Greece, Asia Minor and Syria. It was during one of those ministry, according to tradition, that he was martyred when he worked with another Apostle, St. Bartholomew, when he managed to convince the wife of the local ruler to convert to the Christian faith and the furious ruler ordered St. Philip and St. Bartholomew to be both crucified upside-down. According to the story, St. Philip asked his persecutors to release St. Bartholomew, which they did, but insisted that he himself should remain on the cross, and thus he died a martyr’s death.

Then, St. James the Lesser, known as such because he was likely younger than St. James the Greater, the brother of St. John the Apostle, was also a devoted disciple of the Lord, credited through Apostolic tradition with the evangelisation and conversion of many peoples just as St. Philip and the other Apostles had done. He was martyred in Egypt, at where he worked in spreading the Good News of the Gospel, defending the faith and remaining firmly faithful to the Lord to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in the story of the lives of the two Apostles, and also in our Scripture passages today, we are all reminded that we are the witnesses of the Lord’s truth, the same truth that the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord had seen, and for which many of them, including St. Philip and St. James, were willing to suffer and even die in martyrdom defending that very truth. If they had not seen the truth or known that the Lord and the Christian faith is a lie, as what the Pharisees and the chief priests were trying to convince the people otherwise, then they would not have been willing to give themselves to suffering and die.

The Lord Himself has revealed the whole truth to His disciples, and He has also affirmed, strengthened and guided them through the Holy Spirit, Whom He sent to all the disciples that they might be strengthened in faith, gained wisdom and courage to preach the Good News and the truth to all. And the same truth and the same Holy Spirit have been passed on to us as well, brothers and sisters in Christ, through the Church that we are all member of and which we are part of as the living Body of Christ, composed of all those who believe in Him.

That is why, today as we rejoice and celebrate together the Feast of the great Apostles, St. Philip and St. James, all of us are reminded that we are all also part of the same evangelising mission that the Lord has entrusted to His Apostles and disciples, and we should be aware that we need to be part of this mission, and walk faithfully in the Lord’s path following the examples of those who have gone before us. They have seen the truth of the Lord, and they have laboured and persevered through sufferings and trials so that they might pass on the truth to others, and so that is also how we have received the same truth, through the Church.

Let us all therefore discern carefully our path in life going forward from now. Let us consider how each and every one of us can be part of this mission that the Lord has entrusted to all of us, so that we may also pass on the same truth and the same light of Christ to more and more people, to all those whom we encounter in life. And we have to be good role models and exemplary in the way of life therefore, or else, we will end up scandalising our faith and causing people to turn away from the Lord instead, and the blame will be on us for causing that to happen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in this era and time, when the world is facing so much darkness and so many people are lost in the temptations of sin and evil, in the pressure and coercion to follow the path of selfishness, of worldly desires and of all things that are against the Lord’s truth, let us all be the beacons of light and hope, that each and every one of us, in our own little ways, may do whatever we can to lead others to the right path, inspiring more and more to seek the Lord and to find their way to the true grace and happiness found in God alone.

That is why, we are all challenged to redirect our focus in life and to reorganise our lives that if now we have been living mostly for ourselves, then we should follow the examples of St. Philip and St. James, both of whom have made themselves all things to all mankind, giving their very best to be the source of hope and inspiration to others, and to show the right path to those who are lost, not just through mere words alone, but also through genuine actions and faith. Are we willing and able to commit in this manner, brothers and sisters?

May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with faith, and that we may draw courage and inspiration from those who went before us, that we may not easily give up in the face of trials and challenges, difficulties and persecutions. May God bless us and our every good endeavours and efforts, always. Amen.

Monday, 3 May 2021 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 14 : 6-14

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

“Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do.”

Monday, 3 May 2021 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Monday, 3 May 2021 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Corinthians 15 : 1-8

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News that I preached to you and which you received and on which you stand firm. By that Gospel you are saved, provided that you hold to it as I preached it. Otherwise, you will have believed in vain.

In the first place, I have passed on to you what I myself received that Christ died for our sins, as Scripture says; that He was buried; that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. Afterwards He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters together; most of them are still alive, although some have already gone to rest.

Then He appeared to James and after that to all the Apostles. And last of all, He appeared to the most despicable of them, this is to me.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast of not just one, but two of the Lord’s very own Twelve Apostles, namely St. Philip the Apostle, and St. James the Apostle, or St. James the Greater, to distinguish him from the other St. James, the Lesser, the half-brother and relative of the Lord. The Apostles were all those whom God had chosen to be His principal disciples, those whom He had entrusted great tasks in carrying out the Good News and its preaching to the many nations, and also as those who would lead the Church that He had established in this world.

It was told in the Acts of the Apostles that St. Philip converted the official of the Queen of the Ethiopians, who was travelling home from Jerusalem to his homeland. St. Philip taught him the truth about what the prophets, particularly that of the prophet Isaiah, had spoken out about the coming of the Messiah and the salvation of the world. He explained to him how Jesus is the Messiah and the perfect fulfilment of God’s long promised salvation for His people.

St. Philip explained with such great clarity and zeal that the official believed in him and the truth which he had heard. As a result, the official asked to be baptised as a Christian, and St. Philip agreed to do so. The official then went on his way to home, carrying the truth of God and the message of the Gospels to his own people. This was told to be the beginning of the Church and the Christian faith among the Ethiopians.

St. Philip and also St. James went to various places, from town to town, and from places to places, spreading the Good News of God to the people, preaching about the salvation in Jesus Christ among the Jews, among the Samaritans and among Gentiles, the Greeks and other foreign peoples. Many converted to the faith and believed in the Lord, having heard the testimony of the faith of the Apostles, and after having seen the miracles of God performed through them.

St. Philip went to many places, throughout what is now Greece and Turkey, helping to establish many early Christian communities in those places. St. James meanwhile was told to travel to many places throughout the Roman Empire, and ended up in Spain, then called Hispania, preaching the Gospel of Christ there and helping to establish the first foundation of the Church in that remote area of the Empire.

Both St. Philip and St. James would encounter great persecutions, rejections and sufferings during their ministries and works. St. James himself was among the first of the Apostles of the Lord to suffer martyrdom, as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. St. James was arrested by king Herod, king of Galilee, who then proceeded to put him to death in order to please the Jewish leaders.

St. Philip, meanwhile, met great resistance in some of the places he went to, and eventually was put to death in the Greek city of Hierapolis by the local governor, who persecuted the Christians there and rejected the teachings of Christ. It was told that St. Philip, together with the other Apostle, St. Bartholomew, were crucified upside down, but they met their end in martyrdom with joy, knowing that God was with them all the way to the end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples of the holy Apostles St. Philip and St. Bartholomew should be inspiration for each one of us, in how we should live out our faith life. There are still many people out there who have not yet heard the Good News of the Lord, and still lived in the darkness of ignorance and sin. If we do not do anything, then these brethren of ours may fall into eternal damnation in hell, and surely, we should not allow such a thing to happen.

All of us should be courageous in our faith, and be strong in our commitment to the Lord as they had done. Let us all commit ourselves to God more faithfully and with more zeal and strength, as we listened to the truth and the story of the Apostles today. We have to continue the good works they have started, for the salvation of all mankind. Amen.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
John 14 : 6-14

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

“Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do.”

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
1 Corinthians 15 : 1-8

Let me remind you, brothers and sisters, of the Good News that I preached to you and which you received and on which you stand firm. By that Gospel you are saved, provided that you hold to it as I preached it. Otherwise, you will have believed in vain.

In the first place, I have passed on to you what I myself received that Christ died for our sins, as Scripture says; that He was buried; that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. Afterwards He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters together; most of them are still alive, although some have already gone to rest.

Then He appeared to James and after that to all the Apostles. And last of all, He appeared to the most despicable of them, this is to me.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is indeed a great day, the day when we celebrate the feast of not just one, but two of Christ’s Twelve Apostles, His principal and the greatest of His disciples. We celebrate on this day the feast of the Apostles St. Philip and St. James. Both of them worked hard for the sake of the people of God, and as the other Apostles had done, they spread the Good News to many during their missions.

St. Philip was also known as Nathanael, a learnt and wise man of Israel, who was told to be fluent in Greek, and thus eventually he went on to preach the Lord and His truth in the regions of Greece and Roman Asia at the time, going from cities to cities, preaching to the masses and gaining for the Church many new converts and members. He went about the Greek communities and gaining many new faithful from among them.

In the end, in one account, St. Philip even managed to convert the wife of the proconsul of a region where he ministered in through his miracles and preaching. The proconsul was enraged and ordered St. Philip to be arrested, and he together with the other Apostle, St. Bartholomew, and other disciples were crucified upside down by the order of the proconsul. And it was told how St. Philip preached to the crowd gathering there from the cross, such that they wanted to release him, but this was not allowed by St. Philip himself.

Meanwhile, St. James the Greater was the brother of St. John the Apostle, once a fisherman along the Lake of Galilee, whom Jesus called together with His other Apostles, St. Peter, St. Andrew and St. John his brother. St. James the Greater played an important role during the early Church, spreading the Good News of God’s salvation after Christ’s resurrection and ascension into heaven.

It was told that St. James went to preach the Good News to the faraway regions such as the province of Iberia in what is today Spain, spreading the Gospel to the people there and helped to establish the Church in faraway regions from its origins in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. And he was therefore today renowned especially in the region known as Santiago de Compostela, where his body lay buried, because it was there where he apparently did his works of evangelisation.

And it was told that, as written in the Acts of the Apostles, how king Herod arrested St. James when he returned to the Holy Land, and in order to please the Jewish authorities, the Pharisees and the chief priests, he executed him. Thus, St. James was among the first of the Apostles to meet his end in martyrdom, but certainly, his works and legacies could still be felt even many years after his death.

Through his tireless works and commitment to the cause of the salvation of mankind, St. James and St. Philip the two Apostles of our Lord, they might have gone ahead of us to the glory of heaven. However, the impact of their actions can still be felt clearly even today. In this regard, we indeed need more and more people who are willing to commit themselves to the Lord and walk in His path as these two Apostles had one.

Truly, it will not be an easy one for us, as there would opposition against all those who are faithful and kept their faith. But Jesus reminded us yet again in the Gospel today, that we who have believed in Him, has seen the Lord Himself through Jesus, and by our faith in Him, we have been justified. And because we know the Lord, we will also do what He has asked us to do, and through these therefore, we would be blessed and saved.

During this season of Easter, which is coming to an end soon, let us therefore reflect on our own lives, and on how we have acted in our life so far. Have we been committed to our Lord, and have we been faithful to Him, through all of our words and actions? Can we call ourselves true Christians, as those who do not just believe in the Lord through mere words, but also through real action?

The examples of the Apostles St. Philip and St. James show us that there are still many things that we can do as the followers of Christ in order to fulfil the commands which our Lord had placed in the shoulders of the Apostles. Both the Apostles took the charge with zeal and vigour, and despite the challenges and the difficulties that faced them, all these did not prevent them from carrying out the missions which the Lord entrusted to them.

Let us all therefore look forward, and as we are about to celebrate the Solemnity of the Pentecost Sunday soon, let us all recommit ourselves, and rediscover the gifts of the Holy Spirit which had been given to us, and make use of them all in order to help those who are still in darkness, by showing them the love of God manifested through each and every one of us the faithful ones of our Lord, that more and more souls may see the light of God and be saved. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016 : Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 14 : 6-14

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples at the Last Supper, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father Who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do.”

“Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. Everything you ask in My Name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon My Name, I will do.”