Tuesday 29 December 2015

Saints Philip and James, Apostles - Feast

In every Christian community, there needs to be a balance of missionary spirit and community life. We cannot ignore one or the other. If we focus only in mission, we may forget our identity as Christians, that is we are Christians not as individuals, but as a community. On the other hand, if we focus too much on the Christian community, we may neglect our mission in bringing the Good News to all. So, we need to be balanced as a Christian community and as Christian missionaries, since both are needed for us Christians to grow and flourish.

Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Philip and James. St. Philip was the one who sincerely and joyfully told Nathanael that he had found the Messiah and encouraged him to come and see for himself. Yet it was also this same Philip, as mentioned in today's Gospel, who asked Jesus to let him see God the Father so that he will be satisfied. James (the Lesser) was the apostle who, together with St. Peter, settled the issue about accepting non-Jews into the faith without having to be circumcised and taught the Law of Moses.

In St. Philip and St. James, we see the missionary aspect and the community aspect of the Christian community which needs to be addressed and balanced. St. Philip showed us an example the missionary aspect by bringing others to Jesus, Nathanael in this case. St. James showed us an example of the community aspect, by making a decision which affected the growth and well-being of the community, by not imposing non-essential customs and practices on the non-Jews. May we learn, through the example of Saints Philip and James, how to strike a balance between missionary spirit and community life, so that we as a Christian community could grow more like our Lord Jesus Christ.

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