From the Pastor – May 7, 2017

From the Pastor



4th Sunday

of Easter



May 7, 2017




Last Wednesday we honored Saints Philip & James, Apostles, on May 3, their Feast Day. Little is known about these Apostles who share a feast day and the names of other Saints with whom they are often confused. The APOSTLE Saint Philip
is NOT the DEACON Saint Philip, aka ‘the Evangelist,’
who baptized an Ethiopian eunuch [see Acts 8:26:40]
and was the first to spread the Gospel to Africa.


Saint James
is called ‘the Less’
to distinguish him from Saint James the Greater, the first Apostle to be martyred. He was NOT the James often singled out by Jesus with Saints Peter
and John
to witness special events. Since his mother Mary was either a sister or a close relative of the Blessed Virgin, he was sometimes called the ‘brother of the Lord’
– a term used for cousins or other blood relatives. Those unaware of how the term ‘brother’ was used in biblical times misuse this term to say Jesus literally had blood brothers and sisters. However, as we heard on Easter, Jesus told Mary Magdalen “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee” [John 28:10]
and He was speaking about Saint Peter and the other Apostles … so the Catholic Church firmly proclaims our Blessed Mother
But let’s get back to the saintly apostolic dual.


Saints Philip & James – Collect


O God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of the Apostles Philip and James, grant us, through their prayers, a share in the Passion and Resurrection of your Only Begotten Son,

so that we may merit to behold you for eternity.

Through our Lord Jesus … and ever. Amen.


Pious legend says Saint Philip
was crucified upside down, as was Saint Peter; hence Saint Philip
is often pictured with a Cross. Similar sources say Saint James the Less was thrown from a pinnacle – at age 96 – but survived, so they beat and then hacked or sawed him to death; hence Saint James
is often depicted with the cruel instruments of his martyrdom: a club, a sword or a saw. What pain or discomfort, inconvenience or stress do we endure for the Gospel?


Saints Philip & James – Prayer over the Offerings


Receive, O Lord, the offerings we bring for the feast day of the Apostles Philip and James

and bestow on us religion pure and undefiled.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Both Apostles
relayed – and lived by – ‘God’s Word’
– a term meaning Jesus Christ and/or the Bible or Sacred Scripture; in their day, what we call the Old’ Testament was on scrolls, and the Gospels were still being orally transmitted – but Saint James
composed a Letter which became part of the New’ Testament. His Letter gives us, among other things, the mandate for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, formerly called ‘the Last Rites.’ [Martin Luther downplayed, if not totally ignored the Letter of Saint James, which is why most Protestants reject Catholicism’s seven Sacraments.] In our attempt to live out our Faith ‘pure and undefiled,’
do we go to the original sources to receive and faithfully hand on the ‘Apostolic faith?’


Saints Philip & James – Prayer after Communion


Purify our minds, we pray, O Lord,

by these holy gifts we have received,

so that, contemplating you in your Son

together with the Apostles Philip and James,

we may be worthy to possess eternal life.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Thomas
is called the Doubter,
but Saint Philip deserves that title for flippantly dismissing all hope: “Two hundred days’ wages* worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little!” [John 6:7]
he said to Jesus, who fed thousands with two fish and five loaves. One of Saint Philip’s
symbols is two loaves, representing the 200 days wages. And at the Last Supper, after saying, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
it was Saint Philip who received a tongue-lashing from Jesus for his lack of trust: “Philip, have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me? [John 14:8-9]
What are we doing to better know, love and serve Jesus? Saints Philip and James, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS