Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feast of Sts. Philip and James, apostles

We honor these two apostles on the same day because their relics were placed under the main altar in the Church of the Apostles in Rome on this day in the year 565. Philip was one of the first disciples that Jesus called (see John 1: 43-44). James is often called “the Less” or “the Younger” to distinguish him from the other apostle named James who was the brother of John. Let us ask these apostles and friends of Jesus to intercede for all Apostles of Prayer as we pray for Pope Benedict’s intentions. Our reflection is from the General Audience of September 6, 2006.

The Fourth Gospel recounts that after being called by Jesus, Philip meets Nathanael and tells him: "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (Jn 1: 45). Philip does not give way to Nathanael's somewhat skeptical answer ("Can anything good come out of Nazareth?") and firmly retorts: "Come and see!" (Jn 1: 46). …

We can imagine that Philip is also addressing us with those two verbs that imply personal involvement. He is also saying to us what he said to Nathanael: "Come and see". The Apostle engages us to become closely acquainted with Jesus. In fact, friendship, true knowledge of the other person, needs closeness and indeed, to a certain extent, lives on it. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that according to what Mark writes, Jesus chose the Twelve primarily "to be with him" (Mk 3: 14); that is, to share in his life and learn directly from him not only the style of his behavior, but above all who he really was. Indeed, only in this way, taking part in his life, could they get to know him and subsequently, proclaim him.

Later, in Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, one would read that what is important is to "learn Christ" (4: 20): therefore, not only and not so much to listen to his teachings and words as rather to know him in person, that is, his humanity and his divinity, his mystery and his beauty. In fact, he is not only a Teacher but a Friend, indeed, a Brother. How will we be able to get to know him properly by being distant? Closeness, familiarity and habit make us discover the true identity of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Philip reminds us precisely of this. And thus he invites us to "come" and "see", that is, to enter into contact by listening, responding and communion of life with Jesus, day by day.

No comments: