Saints Philip and James (Apostles)

St. James is listed in the Gospels as the son of Alphaeus; he was sometimes referred to as St. James “the Lesser,” to distinguish him from St. James “the Greater,” who was also an Apostle and was the brother of St. John.

St. Jude was also an Apostle, and their mother Mary was a close relative of the Blessed Virgin; for that reason, James was sometimes called the brother (cousin) of the Lord. Perhaps because of his relationship to Jesus, James had an important role in the early Church, being considered the first bishop of Jerusalem; he was martyred about the year 62.

St. Philip came from Bethsaida in Galilee, which was also the hometown of Peter and his brother Andrew. After being called as an Apostle by Jesus, Philip in turn sought out Nathanael, describing Jesus as “the One of Whom Moses spoke” (John 1:43-49). At the Last Supper it was Philip who asked Jesus to show them the Father (John 14:8-9); he, like the other disciples, was slow to realize the union between God the Father and the Christ. According to an early Church legend, Philip preached the gospel in Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey), where he may have suffered martyrdom.

Lessons

1. When someone praised Mary for her maternal relationship to Jesus, He responded, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28). St. James’ holiness came not from being related to Jesus in a biological way, but in a spiritual one — and this is a relationship our Lord offers to every one of His followers.

2. Upon meeting Jesus, St. Philip’s first impulse was to share the news with his friend Nathanael. Philip’s example reminds us that, as good news, the gospel is meant to be shared with others; every Christian is called to evangelize in one way or another.

Other Saints We Remember Today

St. Alexander, Pope, and Sts. Eventius and Theodulus (119), Martyrs

St. Juvenal (376), Bishop

Finding of the Holy Cross

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