Philip and James, Apostles, have been celebrated together on this day in May since the revision of the calendar in 1969. Philip is the one who asks our Lord ‘show us the Father, and we will be satisfied’, to which Christ replies, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’, that He and the Father ‘are one’, in nature, in substance – recall from yesterday the homoousios for which Saint Athatansius fought – but distinct in Person, in relation. The Son is the perfect image of the Father, sent into the world for our redemption, and, as He Himself reminds us just prior to this exchange with Philip, the Son is the only Way to the Father, the Truth and the Life.
James, called the ‘lesser’ or the ‘minor’, for the simple reason that he seems to have been younger than the other James, the ‘greater’, or ‘major’.
The mediaeval Golden Legend, compiled by Jacob de Varagine (+1298), Archbishop of Genoa describes him thus:
James the Apostle is said the Less, how well that was the elder of age than was St. James the More. He was called also the brother of our Lord, because I have resembled much well our Lord in body, in visage, and of manner. He was called James the Just for his right great holiness. He was also called James the son of Alpheus. He sang in Jerusalem the first mass that ever was there, and he was first bishop of Jerusalem
As the first to hold the see of Jerusalem, James built up the Church, before he was put to death, again as tradition has it, by certain Jews inimical to the Faith in about 62 A.D.He is, by tradition, the author of the epistle that bears his name, the one that Luther described as that ‘epistle of straw’, due to its clear statement that ‘faith without works is dead’. Indeed.
This is also the day that Michael Mulhall, former bishop of Pembroke, will be consecrated as Archbishop of Kingston, the first diocese founded in Canada outside of Quebec. May Saints Philip and James intercede for him, to make his tenure fruitful and truly apostolic.