Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles
By the time of the gospel of John is written, Christians had lived in the light of the Resurrection for a number of generations. Their collective faith and experience of living with the risen Christ directing their mission through the Spirit’s abiding presence, had matured and they were able to offer to succeeding generations, and to us today, clear witness and articulation of their experience of Jesus now risen as the Christ. They had truly imitated what Paul writes about in the first reading “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received”
In their wisdom these early Christians share their experience with us and present what they have learned from Jesus. One way they do this is to highlight the many dialogues and monologues that we hear in the gospel of John.
Today is no exception – Jesus is presented in dialogue with Philip, and he makes it quite clear that there is an incontestable bond between he and the Father, “believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” What is more, Jesus is speaking for the Father – he is God’s Word to us “the words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own”. And Jesus in his actions is revealing not just kindness and compassion, but the very nature of God “the Father who dwells in me is doing his works”.
What is more Jesus promises that the fruits of this intimate relationship with the Father will also be shared with us, and that we can turn to him at any time in our lives to seek assistance and help which will be given. What a gift.
We are privileged – we have received the gospel, the ‘good news’. But as Paul also reminds us – we also ‘stand’ in this gospel. Can we take both statements to heart? In this Easter Season let us rejoice that we have been gifted with the knowledge of, and insights into the good news of Jesus Christ, but let us also acknowledge that we live our lives in the midst of such good news. We stand with Jesus, or rather he will always stand with us.
This is the foundation for our living and acting in the world – we base our lives on his values, attitudes and we model our lives on his outreach, his forgiveness and his compassion. This is our pathway to discipleship no less than it was for Philip and James whose Feast we celebrate today.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia.