Saints Philip and James, Apostles
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 + John 14:6-14
May 3, 2017
“‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’”
Today is the feast of two apostles, Philip and James. The Scriptures for this feast highlight that the Church’s foundation is apostolic. However, the role of the apostles is not limited to the Church’s beginning.
Those ordained to the office of bishop continue to carry out the work first entrusted to the apostles. It’s true that each and every member of the Church has a vocation that is missionary in nature. The word “apostle” literally means “one who is sent”. Every Christian is called to “go outside himself” and share with others the natural and supernatural gifts he has received. Most Christians do this chiefly through family life, and in the secular workplace.
However, within the Church—within the Mystical Body of Christ—those called to the office of bishop have a unique role. As laypeople are called to proclaim the Gospel within the domestic church (that is, the home) and in the secular workplace, bishops proclaim the Gospel within the Church herself: to her other members, chiefly through the Sacred Liturgy. The Gospel is meant—among other goals—to bring order to chaos, and mercy to the scars of sins. Everyone who is a member of a family, a neighborhood, a parish and a diocese knows how difficult it can be to cultivate unity and harmony.
Indeed, unity is so essential to the life of the Church that it is considered one of the “four marks” of the Church, along with holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. Pray for your own bishop, and for our universal bishop, His Holiness the Pope, called to preside in charity over the Church on earth.