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Lifelong Catechesis

Forming Catholic identity across generations
April 29, 2017
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Easter

The sound of Alleluias fills the 50 days of Easter Sunday to Pentecost as we give thanks for the gift of our salvation. The Easter Triduum recalls the passion and resurrection of Christ in the sacred journey from Holy Thursday to Easter Vigil. "Dying he destroyed our death. Rising he restored our life."

Saint of the Week

Second Sunday of Easter

Philip, Apostle and Martyr, First Century

Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee and is thought to have been a disciple of Saint John the Baptist when Jesus called him. He is listed as an Apostle in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but these make no further mention of Philip.

In John’s Gospel (1:43), we are told that Jesus “found Philip” and instructed him to “Follow me.” Several other times, John mentions Philip. Philip, for example, was responsible for bringing his friend, Nathaniel (believed to be the Apostle, Bartholomew), to Jesus. Philip was present at the marriage feast at Cana and at the feeding of the five thousand. It was here that Jesus tested Philip when he saw the large crowd who had come to hear him. “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” (Jn 6:5), he asked Philip. Philip, not recognizing that Jesus was about to perform a sign for all of them, replied, “Six months wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” Jesus then took the five barley loaves and two dried fish and fed the crowd after which the disciples gathered twelve baskets of fragments of the barley loaves.

Again, Philip is the Apostle at the Last Supper who asks Jesus to show them the Father, a tribute to his, as well as the other Apostles’ earnestness. Jesus responded to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” (Jn 14:9), a message to all of us. The Acts of the Apostles note that Philip was with the other ten Apostles in the upper room awaiting the Holy Spirit, but makes no other mention of him. (Philip the Apostle shouldn’t be confused with Philip the Deacon who is spoken of later in the Acts.)

Early Church Tradition was recorded by Eusebius the historian, as well as other writers. This tradition states that Philip preached the Gospel at Phrygia and later died at Hierapolis. He is said to have had three daughters, one of whom recounted to Papias, a later bishop of Hierapolis, the story of a miracle performed by the saint, in this case, raising a man from the dead. Depending on the account--and here some confusion between the two Philips may have entered--Philip either died a natural death or was crucified at Hierapolis. It has been stated that the remains of Saint Philip were eventually brought to Rome and have been preserved in the basilica of the Apostles since the time of Pope Pelagius (A.D. 561).

Saint Philip shares a Feast day with the Apostle, James the Younger on May 3.

Philip's message today: Just as he tested Philip about feeding the crowd, Jesus sometimes tests our faith with adversity. While these trials can seem overwhelming, we should remember that God is with us even when we cannot feel his presence.

  • Do you trust that God is with you when you experience hard times in your life? Renew your trust that God is always with us.