Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Philip was one of the first apostles chosen. He was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee. Our Lord found him and said, “Follow me.” Philip was so happy to be with Jesus. He wanted to share his happiness with his friend, Nathaniel. “We have found the one Moses and the prophets wrote about,” Philip explained. “He is Jesus of Nazareth.”
Nathaniel was not at all excited. Nazareth was just a little village. It was not big and important like Jerusalem. So Nathaniel said, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” But Philip did not become angry at his friend’s answer. He just said, “Come and see.” Nathaniel went to see Jesus. After he had spoken with him, he, too, became a zealous follower of the Lord.
St. James was also one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. He was the son of Alpheus and a cousin of Our Lord. After Jesus ascended into heaven, James became the bishop of Jerusalem. People thought so much of him that they called him “James the Just,” which means “James the Holy One.” He is also called “James the Less,” because he was younger than the other apostle named James. The other James was called “James the Greater” because he was older.
The saint of today’s feast was very gentle and forgiving. He prayed very much. He kept begging God to forgive the people who persecuted the followers of Jesus. Even when Our Lord’s enemies were putting him to death, he asked God to pardon them. St. James died a martyr in the year 62.
What would it be like to be an apostle today? Would I share the Good News of what faith in Jesus has done for me?
O God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of the Apostles Philip and James, grant us, through their prayers, a share in the Passion and Resurrection of your Only Begotten Son, so that we may merit to behold you for eternity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.