Sts. Philip and James
We celebrate today the feast of two great Apostles: St. Philip and St. James. Philip was the third one to be called by Jesus after Andrew and Peter. It is to Philip that Jesus speaks those great words that the one who sees Jesus sees the Father. James was a relative of Jesus and author of the Letter of James in the New Testament. He was the first leader of the Jerusalem church and received special appearance of the risen Lord.
In the last analysis, we do not know much about Philip and James. As Joseph Krempa puts is, “We know little about their thoughts, feelings, and dreams – which is the psychological aspect that so intrigues people today.” Yet, in the larger plan of things, it is not important how they felt. It is what they did that counts. (Joseph Krempa) They handed on the Faith and were a bridge from Jesus to the rest of humanity and to the rest of history.
A question we can ask ourselves on this feast of Philip and James is whether we are a bridge to Christ or a barrier. Are we able to share our faith in Jesus with others? Are we able to bring others closer to Jesus? Are we able to help others know Jesus better and experience his love more deeply?
We can be so preoccupied with succeeding in the different areas of our life (education, career, profession, business), we can be so obsessed about achievements and accomplishments, we can be so fixated on earning the esteem of others, to the point that we run our life like our own “personal project” only. We tend to forget about getting to know, to love, and serve the Lord. We tend to set aside our baptismal commitment to share in the life and mission of Christ. We tend to take for granted our task of bringing Jesus to others and bringing others to Jesus.
Remember: At the end of our earthly life what is important is whether we were a bridge from Christ to others or a barrier. A bridge or a barrier? Baptism calls us to be a bridge. Sin makes us a barrier. Long after are our names, with our titles, on the tombstones are obscured, long after our worldly accomplishments and achievements are forgotten, the answer to that question – bridge or barrier – will be the most important truth about our life as it was for Philip and James.
Let us ask the help and prayer of Sts. Philip and James that, like them, we may be a bridge from Jesus Christ to others.