Archive for May 1st, 2018

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Almighty God, Your Son revealed Himself to Philip and James and gave them the knowledge of everlasting life. Grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life, and steadfastly to walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

READINGS:  Isaiah 30:18-21  Psalm 36:5-12 (antiphon: v. 8) Ephesians 2: 19-22   St.John 14:1-14

From Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Philip Pfatteicher:

Philip was born in Bethsaida, the same fishing village on the shores of Galilee from which Peter and Andrew came. He was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus, and brought Nathanael ( sometimes identified with Bartholomew) to the Lord ( John1:43-51). Apart from his own calling, the story of Nathanael, and mention along with the other Apostles, the only other incidents of his life recorded in the Gospels are the occasion when some Greeks came to him to ask his help in getting an interview with Jesus ( John 12:20-22) and the time Jesus asked Philip how they would be able to feed the crowds ( John 6:5-7).

According to tradition, after Pentecost Philip went first to Scythia to preach the Gospel, where he was remarkably successful, and then to Phrygia where he stayed until his death. He is said to have met his death in the town of Hierapolis in Phrygia (in modern Turkey), according to some accounts by crucifixion and stoning. Traditions also tell of Philip’s two unmarried daughters who survived him, lived to an old age, and were also buried in Hierapolis.

James the son of Alphaeus is usually called James the Less (meaning either “short” or “younger”) to distinguish him from James the Elder, the brother of John, and from James of Jerusalem, the brother of the Lord. The only mention of James in the Scriptures, apart from his name in the apostolic lists, is the statement that his mother Mary was one of those present at the crucifixion (Matt. 27:55 and Mark 15:40), which also tells us that he had a brother named Joseph or the Greek form of the name, Joses.

May 1 has been kept as the feast day of St. Philip and St. James since A.D. 561 when on that date the supposed remains of the two saints were interred in the Church of the Apostles in Rome. To counteract the effects of the twentieth-century dedication of May 1 to the working classes and socialism, Pope Pius XII made May 1 the Feast of St, Joseph the Worker, and shifted the feast of Philip and James to May 11. The new Roman calendar commemorates the two apostles on May 3. Lutherans and Anglicans have retained the traditional date.


Today is May Day.  I think it was a celebration of  spring time, as in, dancing around the May pole.  I would dare say that is a distant cultural memory. But it was the Communists, especially in the Soviet Union that every year would observe May Day with displays of militarism in their official virulent atheism…an atheism by way that is becoming stronger in our day.

I was reminded of this as I read Rev. Pfatteicher’s bio on Philip and the Roman Catholic Church’s noble efforts to fight the Soviet’s co-opting of May Day by moving St. Joseph, the Worker to May 1st.  But this traditional date for Philip and James is so understated, as is St. Joseph, and it’s meaning will undo virulent atheism with virtuous faith and love in the Savior.

What was the main deed  that Philip is remembered?  He brought people to Jesus.  That’s all…and that’s enough.  The Soviets believed in salvation without God…as today’s secularists and atheists.  Life on our own terms. Life is in this world alone. Many want a Messiah to be, “…sovereign of the world. In reality, He was to become the Savior of the world.” (Luther) C. S. Lewis reiterated the salvations of this world as dead ends in his sermon, “The Weight of Glory”:

Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modem philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth. And yet it is a remarkable thing that such philosophies of Progress or Creative Evolution themselves bear reluctant witness to the truth that our real goal is elsewhere. When they want to convince you that earth is your home, notice how they set about it. They begin by trying to persuade you that earth can be made into heaven, thus giving a sop to your sense of exile in earth as it is. Next, they tell you that this fortunate event is still a good way off in the future, thus giving a sop to your knowledge that the fatherland is not here and now. Finally, lest your longing for the trans-temporal should awake and spoil the whole affair, they use any rhetoric that comes to hand to keep out of your mind the recollection that even if all the happiness they promised could come to man on earth, yet still each generation would lose it by death, including the last generation of all, and the whole story would be nothing, not even a story, for ever and ever.

The communists said that some almost apocalyptic event of the classless society would come but in all worldly ‘salvations’ it is be sheer use of force. It won’t be a utopia but a dystopia. For anyone reading this of a certain age, the picture above is also a distant cultural memory: thank God!  Quietly, Philip told Nathaniel:  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 

“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 

Come and see…in a place of no importance in Biblical, world or cultural history till then, Nazareth.  Nathanael saw his Savior. Philip, James, Nathanael…no power players on the world’s stage but in the Kingdom, great indeed because they brought people to the Savior who loved them from the foundation of the world.  Jesus sent His apostles as itinerants into the world. This is still the way of Jesus Christ in the midst of the other false worldly saviors. And you might be part of someone’s divine blessedness with a simple invite to “Come and see”.

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