STS. PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES
From the gospels we know St. Philip as one of the twelve
apostles. His name appears in all four lists (Matthew, Mark, Luke
and Acts). He came from Bethsaida in Galilee, was called by
Jesus himself, and in turn brought Nathaniel (Bartholomew) to
Jesus. In the gospel of john it is Philip who engages in a brief
exchange with Jesus on the occasion of the multiplication of
loaves On. 6:5, 7). Also, it was Philip who was approached by
some Hellenistic Jews who wanted to be introduced to Jesus.
Fr. John L McKenzie suggests that he was regarded as being
closely associated with Jesus. Of his later life we know nothing.
St. James, the cousin of the Lord, son of Alphaeus, is also
mentioned in the same four lists of apostles. Sometimes he is
referred to in literature as James the less, or James the younger, to
distinguishes him also from James, "brother of the Lord," who is
scholarship, agreeing with the ancient Fathers and eastern liturgy
<:> distinguish him also from James, "brother of the Lord," who is
also mentioned in the gospels (Mt. 13:55 and Mark 6:3, and in
Acts 12: 1 7 as the bishop of the Jerusalem community, martyred
at 62, author of the Letter of James). Western liturgy identifies St.
James as bishop ofJerusalem and author of the letter. As in the
case of Philip, depending on whether we agree with the eastern
tradition or western tradition, either we know nothing of his
future ministry or we recognize him as the leader of the [erusa-
The II Vatican Council in the Decree on the Church's
Missionary Activity recalls for us the role of the apostles:
"From the beginning of his ministry the Lord Jesus 'called
to himself those whom he wished and he caused twelve of
them to be with him and to be sent out preaching' ... Thus
the apostles were both the seeds of the new Israel and the
beginning of the sacred hierarchy. Later, before he was
assumed into heaven ... the Lord, who had received all
power in heaven and on earth. . .founded his Church as the
sacrament of salvation, and just as he had been sent by the
Father ... so he sent the apostles into the whole world ...
Hence the Church has an obligation to proclaim the faith
and salvation which comes from Christ. . .
"This task which must be carried out by the order of
bishops, under the leadership of Peter's successor and with
the prayers and cooperation of the whole Church, is one
and the same everywhere and in all situations." (Ad gentes,
nos. 5 & 6).
The task of proclaiming "the faith and salvation which comes
from Christ" is now ours. Pope John Paul II, in his homily in San
Francisco, September 18,1987, said: "The Gospel, and together
with it the salvific power of Christ's redemption, is addressed to
every person in every nation ... To be christian ... means to
proclaim this message untiringly in every generation."
The commission given to the apostles to "make disciples of all
nations," is now our commission.