Feast Day: May 3 (Roman Catholic Church
Philip and James were both Apostles, chosen by Jesus to follow him and to continue his work of building the Kingdom of God. We celebrate their feast on the same day because, although they died at different times and in different places, their bodies were moved and are buried together in the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Rome.
We meet Philip in John’s Gospel. Philip is also a fisherman, the third man Jesus called to “Follow me” (John 1:43). We know that Philip immediately recognized that Jesus had been sent from God. The first thing he did as Jesus’ newest disciple was to invite his friend, Nathanael, to come and see the Lord. From the very beginning, he wanted to share the Good News about Jesus with others!
Philip was also a curious man who wanted to learn everything he could about Jesus and his teachings. At the Last Supper, Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8). Jesus was shocked by Philip’s request. He replied, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Philip’s question and Jesus’ answer help us to understand that we are called to continue growing in our faith every day.
After receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Philip is said to have travelled to Asia Minor, the area we now call Turkey, to tell others about Jesus’ life and teachings. He died as a martyr for our faith.
We honor Philip and James the Less as saints on May 3. Their lives of faith inspire us to listen for the Lord’s call in our lives and to respond with love and faith.