Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of Saints Philip and James, App (3rd May, 2017) on the Gospel and the Feast
1Cor 15:1-8;Ps 18:2-5. (R. v.5);
Philip was born at Bethsaida; he was a disciple of John the Baptist, who followed the call of Christ.
James, the son of Alphaeus, should not be confused with James the brother of John. The Lord appeared to him after the resurrection; he is the writer of one of the Epistles. He belonged to the Church at Jerusalem, and was martyred there in 62 AD.
Topic: Greater works than Jesus’.
Jesus revealed a lot of things about Himself and His relationship with the Father while responding to both Thomas’ and Philip’s questions. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.”
Jesus also said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.... The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” He went further and assured us, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
This assurance is often misunderstood. Minds normally go to miracles alone. But did Jesus come into the world to perform miracles? He came to do something greater than miracles. Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out” (Mk 1:38). He also said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt 9:13; cf. Mk 2:17).
We celebrate Saints Philip and James, not because they outdone Jesus in miracles but they followed His footsteps in saving souls. And no amount of miracles is greater than the salvation of a soul. Hence Jesus questioned, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Matt 16:26). We are chosen to bear fruits that will abide, cf. Jn 15:16. Miracles are just signs not the work, cf. Mk 16:17. Let us strive therefore to save more and more souls through preaching and most importantly living the word of God.
Bible Reading: Matt 16:24-27.
Thought for today: No miracle is as good as the salvation of a soul.
Let us pray: May the good Lord help us as we carry out the ministry Jesus left for us – Amen (cf. Jn 20:21).
Saint Philip and Saint James – Pray for us.
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