Dear Parish Family,
“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be – and becoming that person.” ~St. Therese of Lisieux
A link to today’s Mass can be found here: https://youtu.be/_nV6NwRQqIQ
Also a link to yesterday’s Confirmation Mass can be found here: https://youtu.be/hTrEf7eZqUI
And, a link to yesterday’s First Communion Mass can be found here: https://youtu.be/Bt1H2_r4Kig
Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles
First Reading: 1 Corinthian 15:1-8
I am reminding you,
brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you indeed
received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if
you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I
handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died
for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 19:2-3, 4-5
R. Their message goes out
through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day;
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Gospel: John 14:6-14
Jesus said to
Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now
on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the
Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “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. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not
believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
Saints Philip and James, apostles
“…whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these …” John 14:6-14
A new pastor was named for a small parish. The minister was told that it was a “dying” church: it wasn’t growing, the small congregation could barely pay its bills, its days were numbered. But in getting to know the congregation, the pastor saw something else:
“I began to see the strengths of my church. They genuinely liked each other. They had a deep history of supporting each other through difficult times. They forgave the more difficult people their faults. They took people who had stopped driving to their doctor appointments, and no one grieved without a freezer full of casseroles . . . A faithful bunch provided the meal at a local soup kitchen once a month. A man who lived on the edge of homelessness was given odd jobs by parishioners so he could fix his car and keep his job. The congregation rallied around two boys whose single mother was overwhelmed by her own health problems. One member invited the two boys to dinner once a week and checked in on school progress. A retired army captain made sure they got haircuts. We celebrated their improved grades.
“It wasn’t a dying church. It was a small church. It was an under-resourced church [that] struggled to pay its bills and keep its building up . . . But it was a church that was bearing fruit.”
[Melissa Earley, writing in “The Christian Century,” April 21, 2021.]
What makes a community a church is our taking on the work of the Gospel entrusted to us by the Risen Jesus. The thread that connects us to every church – large and small, well-financed and under-resourced, from our sanctuary to the place where the Apostles gathered together – is our shared resolve to love one another as Jesus loves us.
On this feast of the apostles Philip and James, may we recommit ourselves to the work of “apostleship” that we took on in Baptism: to “preach” the Gospel of the Risen One in our simple everyday works of love and mercy.
O Lord, help us to continue the work you entrusted to your apostles Philip and James and the first generation of your Church: the work of compassion for the broken, justice for the vulnerable, comfort for the suffering. May our parish be the community of peace that you envision: a community who realizes the coming of your Kingdom in our ordinary works of mercy and everyday offerings of peace and forgiveness.
An Act of
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
Saints Philip and James, Apostles
Patron Saint of hatmakers and pastry chefs (Philip) and pharmacists (James)
The popes follow one another chronologically just like the presidents of the United States. One after another, after another, each inheriting the powers and responsibilities of his office. President John F. Kennedy followed President Dwight D. Eisenhower, just as Pope Saint John Paul II followed The Venerable Pope John Paul I. But there is a difference. Jesus’ placing of Saint Peter as the symbolic and jurisdictional head of the universal Church is, of course, more significant than the popular election of a political leader. The papacy is also different in that every pope is, theologically speaking, the “direct successor” of Saint Peter, the first pope. From this perspective, every pope after Saint Peter is a second pope. So, for example, the two hundredth pope, chronologically, was still the second pope, theologically. No president would claim he is the direct successor of George Washington. He is the successor of his predecessor. Theological truths transcend space and time, since their source, God, exists outside of space and time.
The Office of St. Peter is theologically guaranteed by the easy-to-find, on-the-surface-of-the-text words of Christ telling Saint Peter that he is the rock upon which He will build His Church. Today’s Pope, and every pope, occupies that same office, is protected by that same divine guarantee, and immediately succeeds Saint Peter when he is chosen by the Holy Spirit to occupy his chair.
What pertains to the Office of the Bishop of Rome also pertains to the Office of the Twelve Apostles. Today’s saints, Philip and James, were called by name by Christ Himself. And after being called, they took the step that many who are called never take. They followed! The Twelve walked at Christ’s side on dusty trails during His years of public ministry. They ate and drank with Him by the fire. They slept under the cold desert sky with Him. And Jesus looked right into their eyes, and only their eyes, and spoke directly to their faces, and only their faces, when He said on a Thursday night that was deeply holy, “Do this in memory of me.” And then they did that, and many other things besides, in memory of Him, for the rest of their lives.
The four marks of the true Church are proof of its authenticity. “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” are the trademark stamp of the true Church, proving it is the Church founded by Jesus Christ. No other ecclesial community bears this trademark, and none except the Orthodox even claims to bear it. The mark of “One” means the Church is visibly one in spite of its many tongues, nations, classes, and races. The Church is one in her doctrine, her Sacraments, and her hierarchy. This oneness is not theoretical. It is tangible, real, and identifiable even to those without a doctorate in theology. This one, Christ-founded Church began with twelve followers who gathered as one around Jesus. These Twelve eventually appointed their own successors, who then, in turn, appointed successors, and so on through the centuries down to the present.
The universal college of bishops, the successor body to the Twelve Apostles, is the means by which the Oneness, or unity, of the Church is expressed, protected, and guaranteed. Bishops are not a secondary attribute or development of Christianity. They are embedded into and conjoined with the Word of God in one complex reality. They are not an outside source of authority external to Scripture. There simply would be no Scripture without that pre-existing authority which nurtured and developed it. The Church was the incubator of the New Testament.
Not much is known with certainty about the Apostles Philip and James, apart from their names and some few references in the New Testament. Saint James, commonly called the “Less” due perhaps to his short stature, was probably the cousin of Jesus. He was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, likely elected to that post by his fellow Apostles, and was stoned to death by resentful Jews. Saint Philip was from tiny Bethsaida in Galilee. After he received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he descended the stairs of the Upper Room and just kept walking into the darkness, his later life and labors unknown to history. More than having specific details about their later Christian exploits, it is more critical to know that Philip and James, and all the Apostles, are the sheet of bedrock into which the nascent Church sunk her deepest pillars and upon whose sturdy foundation the Church’s great weight still rests. Philip and James’ theological legacy continues today in every Bishop who teaches, sanctifies, and governs the baptized people of God.