Read: "How Saints Philip and James can help us become saints too!" by Father Jim Rolph, Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Lansing

Today is the Feast of the Apostles, Saints Philip and James! Happy feast day! To mark the occasions, here’s reflection upon the significance of the life and death of these two great saints from, fittingly, Father Jim Rolph who is the Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Lansing:

My name is Father Jim. My given name is James. This is important because our names mean something and connect us.

I was blessed to be able to celebrate Mass at the tomb of Saint James and Saint Philip within the church of Sancti Apostoli or Holy Apostles in Rome. It was a profound experience to know that these were ordinary men who chose to follow Jesus and lay down their lives for Him. If Jesus worked so powerfully in and through their lives, can't He do the same for me today?

Both men were called by the Lord to be some of the first disciples of Jesus. Saint James was known as ‘the Just One’ and was the first bishop of Jerusalem. He helped develop Church teaching and remained true to the faith even to death. Saint Philip was a fearless evangelist, preaching the truth in such a way that the Gospel was able to spread throughout the world. He too would be martyred for his faith. 

In our day and age the Lord is raising up saints: you and me. He is calling us, like Saint James and Saint Philip, to follow after Him daily, to stay true to the faith, and to preach it boldly. Through our connection to the saints we have not only their past example, but help through their prayers.

As we celebrate this feast today we recognize that these men show us that we too can be saints, that holiness is possible, that God does have a plan to work through us to impact the world. Through the intercession of Saints James and Saints Philip may we become the saints we were created to be! 

Saint Philip, pray for us! Saint James, pray for us!