Meditation for the Day

Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles, May 3

When We Look to the Lives of These Specially Chosen Disciples By Our Lord, We Can Also Find Within Them a Reflection of Our Own Humanity and a Realization of Our Hope.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” – words which we find in our Responsorial Psalm today, words which speak to us of the Wisdom which is God’s, a Wisdom which has known each of us personally long before the heavens and the Earth were ever created.

And in God’s Divine Omniscience, in His Divine Love and Mercy, He willed that we exist; He willed that we experience life; and, in this life, He invites each of us to come to know, love and serve Him, so that we, in turn, may have eternal life with Him!

I know that I have mentioned this before, but I do not believe that there is a single one of us above the age of reason who has not carried his or her share of crosses on this side of Heaven at one time or another. Some of these crosses which you and I have borne have been light, while others have seemed extremely heavy, almost to the point of becoming unbearable.

And I am sure that there have been times in the life of each of us when we have had our doubts, wondering why God allows certain things to happen. “Does He really hear me?” “Does He really care?” What these and other similar questions make us is not a people who are weak of faith. What it makes us is human, just as human and just as vulnerable as the Apostles were during the time of Christ.

Today is the Feastday of two of the original Twelve selected by our Lord, Philip and James. Most Scripture scholars concur that this James, known as James the Less and the son of Alphaeus, is not the James spoken of in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians in today’s First Reading.

As a matter of fact, there is very little known of him, other than the fact that he was chosen by our Lord to be one of the original Twelve Pillars of the Church. And tradition does tell us that he was martyred.

From John’s Gospel, we know that Philip, the other Apostle whom we also honor today, came from the same town as Peter and his brother Andrew in Galilee. And, like the other Apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize and understand the true Nature of who Jesus truly was.

At the Last Supper, when Christ spoke to the Apostles about His relationship to His Father, Philip asked, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” And Jesus answered, a little sadly, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

As in the case of the other Apostles, we see in James and Philip men who are completely human, with their own weaknesses and human faults, and, in spite of this, Jesus never abandoned them. Instead, our Lord loved them, supported them and made them the foundational stones of His Church.

And it is in their weaknesses and in their doubts and their individual faults where we also find ourselves – for it is within each one of them that we are able to see the reflection of our own humanity. But this is also where we realize our hope!

Even though they abandoned our Lord when He suffered His Passion, our Lord did not condemn them; He did not chastise them for their weaknesses. Instead, He would appear to them after His Resurrection and give them His Peace.

And it is within the lives of these Apostles, recognizing their weaknesses, that we can take our hope, knowing that, no matter how dark life may seem for us at times, our Lord is always there giving us His Love, asking that we open the eyes of our hearts and souls to the gift of faith and peace which He wishes to share with us.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Regarding this particular verse, Saint Augustine once wrote “…the Word of God, which is truth and life with the Father, by taking upon Himself human nature, is made the Way. Walk by the Man [spelled with a capital “M”], and you will arrive at God.”

There are times, because of our human failings, not unlike Philip and James, that we forget that our Lord truly understands what it is like for us to become so mired-down, so caught up in the depths of the darkness and despair due to the many valleys we must traverse through this life.

In the midst of our own “vale of tears”, we forget all that Jesus Himself endured out of Divine Love for each of us. We forget that He, too, must have experienced the pain of great sadness at times. And it is because of this, He understood His chosen Apostles only too well.

That is why when we look to the lives of these specially selected men by our Lord, we can also find ourselves. What were once men filled with doubts and misunderstanding, culminating with sadness and despair because of the Death our Lord experienced upon His Cross, their emotions gave way to the great joy of Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension. And we see their weaknesses giving way to the great strength gained at Pentecost!

Let us look to these pillars of our Church, and to their humanity, especially to their humanity, as a great and holy example for each of us.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Let us fill our hearts with the confidence of always reaching out to our Lord, both in good times and bad. And let us ask our Lord to fill us with that strength of faith which only His Spirit of Truth can give! †

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.” (Psalm 19:2)
  • “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’(John 14:9abc)
  • “All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
  • “I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:21-22)
  • “…you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
  • “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
  • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
  • “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32)
  • “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)

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Prayer for the Day

“Eternal God,

Who are the Light of the minds that know You,

the Joy of the hearts that love You,

and the Strength of the wills that serve You.

“Grant us so to know You, that we may truly love You,

and so to love You that we may fully serve You,

Whom to serve is perfect freedom,

in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Saint Augustine of Hippo

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