This feast, which celebrates the memory of the two Apostles, Philip and James; who answered the call of Christ, comes close on the heels of the celebration of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Many of us watched the liturgy being held in Rome, with thousands of people celebrating this wonderful event,
But as I have been looking at the photos of events in Rome, at all the pomp and ceremony, the Franciscan in me recalls something St. Francis of Assisi wrote for his followers;
“Let all of us, brothers, look to the Good Shepherd Who suffered the passion of the cross to save His sheep. The sheep of the Lord followed Him in tribulation and persecution, in insult and hunger, in infirmity and temptation, and in everything else, and they have received everlasting life from the Lord because of these things. Therefore, it is a great shame for us, servants of God, that while the saints actually did such things, we wish to receive glary and honor by merely recounting their deeds.” (VI Admonition)
The Church holds up individuals like Philip, like James, and like John Paul II; as examples of what it means to help build up the Body of Christ, what it means to take on the roles of service that the Holy Spirit is calling each one of us to fulfill.
So yes, let us celebrate the lives of the saints, but may they also inspire us to greater efforts to build up the Church, the Body of Christ; to lead lives of love, of hope, of service, that will bring the light of our Risen Lord to the world.