Saint Philip and Saint James
Jul 21, 2020 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast May 3
Phillip, seemingly a disciple of John the Baptist, was the third apostle, after Andrew and Peter, whom Christ Our Lord called to follow Him. A family man, St. Chrysostom says of him that he still found time to meditate on the law and the prophets, which study prepared him to recognize the expected Messiah.
Mentioned several times in the Gospel of John, we get a glimpse of the Apostle Phillip as a man of an amiable, earnest and circumspect disposition.
Immediately after being chosen, he seeks out Nathaniel to tell him of his great discovery. On meeting with disdainful doubt on Nathaniel’s part, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46) Phillip is neither frustrated nor irritated but says simply, “Come and see.”
At the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, Our Lord singles him out, “Whence shall we buy bread that they may eat?” to which Phillip replied soberly, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little” (John 6:5-7).
In his ardent love and desire to see the Father, he asks Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father…” to which Our Lord replies calling him by name, “…Philip, he that sees me sees the Father also…” (John 14:8-9)
Phillip must have lived to an advanced age as St. Polycarp, who was only converted in the year 80, held conversations with him. He seems to have preached in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria, and suffered martyrdom in Hierapolis.
James called “the lesser” because he seems to have been younger than James the Greater, was a brother of John and was also known as “James the Just”.
He was son of Alpheus of Cleophas and Mary, a relative of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which seems to make him a cousin of Jesus. In Scriptures he is called a “brother” of the Lord, a title the Jews often used for close relatives.
James the Lesser held a prominent position in the early church, a man whom the Apostle Paul consulted. According to tradition, he was Bishop of Jerusalem and was present at the Council of Jerusalem in the year 50, where at the instance of Peter, he officially pronounced that gentiles accepting baptism need not be circumcised.
Tradition has also always recognized James the Lesser as the author of the epistle that bears his name.
The historian Josephus, records that James earned his crown of martyrdom in the year 62, when he was stoned to death in Jerusalem.