Today is the Feast of Sts. Phillip and James. Philip was born in Bethsaida, and was a disciple of John the Baptist prior to following Jesus. Philip is the Apostle that asked Jesus how they were going to get all the bread and fishes to feed the crowds on that countryside hill; and also asked Jesus to “show him God!”
James (the lesser) was the son of Alpheus. There were many James in the Bible, so be careful. This James is listed four times in the New Testament, and needs to be distinguished from James “the Greater.” He became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem, wrote an epistle, and otherwise led an austere life. Philip was martyred in the year 62.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1160 – Death of Peter Lombard, Italian scholar and bishop (b. c.1100)
† 1428 – Birth of Pedro González de Mendoza, Spanish cardinal and statesman (d. 1495)
† 1491 – Kongo monarch Nkuwu Nzinga is baptized by Portuguese missionaries, adopting the baptismal name of João I.
† 1606 – Death of Henry Garnet, English Jesuit (executed) (b. 1555)
† 1622 – Death of Pedro Páez, Spanish Jesuit missionary (b. 1564)
† 1679 – Death of James Sharp, English archbishop (assassinated) (b. 1613)
† 1758 – Death of Pope Benedict XIV (b. 1675)
† 2000 – Death of John Joseph Cardinal O’Connor, Catholic Archbishop of New York (b. 1920)
† Liturgical Feasts: Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross (the Invention of the True Cross), Saint Philip, Saint James “the Lesser,” Saint Alexander I, Saint Juvenal of Narni (d. 369), Saint Ansfrid (c. 1008), Antonia and Alexander (martyrs of 313), Black Madonna of Czestochowa Queen and Protector of Poland (since April 1, 1656); In the Eastern Orthodox Church: St Theodosius of Kiev; Syriac Orthodox Church: Abhai; Coptic Church: Saint Sarah
Today’s reflection is about Paul preaching on the Creed.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Heretics are to be converted by an example of humility and other virtues far more readily than by any external display or verbal battles. So let us arm ourselves with devout prayers and set off showing signs of genuine humility and go barefooted to combat Goliath. –ST. DOMINIC
Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. (NAB 1 Cor 15:1-8)
Paul the writer of this letter to the people of Corinth recalls the tradition, common ground, and starting point for this letter. These verses are the fundamental content of all Christian preaching and belief for Paul. The language by which Paul expresses the essence of the “gospel,” meaning good news, is not his own but is drawn from older creedal formulas. This credo highlights Jesus’ death for our sins (confirmed by his burial) and Jesus’ resurrection (confirmed by his appearances); and presents both of them as fulfillment of prophecy, and conforming Jesus’ passion to the scriptures.
Paul is calling these Christians his “brothers.” This is the same man that in the recent past had tried to have these same people killed as heretics. The “Bible” was not a written document at this time; and everything was spread in the typical verbal fashion of the day. The “gospel” Paul is exhorting is the “Good News” (its literal translation) that he preached.
Through this “good news,” many were obviously converted and “saved.” The next step for these Christians was maybe the hardest for them: to “hold fast to the word” Paul, and the others, preached. The societal norms of that day condemned Christians as scourges and the “crazies” of the time. Too bad this is happening again today, in this Country.
“Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” We say these exact words at every mass. These words are part of both the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. How often do we actually think about what these words are telling us?
“Jesus appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve Apostles” who were hiding in a locked room, afraid of being killed; and with the uncertainty any group would have that had lost its leader without warning and preparation. I think the pitiful thing is that Jesus had prepared them for their roles, and they just did not realize, and did not have truly trust in Jesus till this point. Later, Jesus appears again to James, and the Apostles. I believe this was the “stoking the fire” appearance. After this appearance, the disciples were so on fire as to cause a conflagration that literally caught the entire world on fire towards Christianity.
After appearing to the Apostles, “He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once.” At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, most of these Christians were still living, and some had died in body, but living in divinity with Christ in heaven. Can you picture the stories they told their grandchildren?
Finally, Jesus appears to Saul (Paul) and literally scares the hell out of him! (Sorry, I had to write this little pun/joke.) Paul calls himself “abnormal.” His use of this word to describe his life prior to conversion is humorous for me. I myself, and most of my friends, think of me as abnormal (mentally at least), in a humorous and good way. I also believe that as a sinner, and in no way even close to the goodness of Jesus, have to purposely convert myself on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.
“I believe you definitely did die for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; and that you were buried and raised on the third day; that ascended to heaven; and is seated at the right hand of God. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: Bl. Arthur Bell, Henry Heath, John Woodcock, et al
Among the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales, are found the Blessed Thomas Bullaker, Henry Heath, John Woodcock, Charles Meehan, all Franciscan priests. John Woodcock was born at Leyland, Lancashire, 1603; suffered at Lancaster, 7 August, 1646. He was converted about 1622, and after studying at Saint-Omer for a year was admitted to the English College, Rome, 20 October, 1629. On 16 May, 1630, he joined the Capuchins in Paris, but soon afterwards transferred himself to the English Franciscans at Douai. He received the habit from the Venerable Henry Heath in 1631 and was professed by the Venerable Arthur Bell a year later. For some years he lived at Arras as chaplain to Mr. Sheldon. Late in 1643 he landed at Newcastle-on- Tyne, and was arrested on the first night he spent in Lancashire. After two years’ imprisonment in Lancaster Castle, he was condemned, on his own confession, for being a priest, together with two seculars, Edward Bamber and Thomas Whittaker, 6 August, 1646. When he was flung off the ladder the rope broke. Having been hanged a second time, he was cut down and disemboweled alive. The Franciscan nuns at Taunton possess an arm-bone of the martyr. (from Catholic Encyclopedia Online Edition © 2003 by K. Knight) – These martyrs have been beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #3:
The present rule, succeeding “Memoriale Propositi” (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times. Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.