Saint Brigid Religious Education
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Philip

Philip was from Bethsaida, a fisherman's village, either on the north or on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee. Our Lord chose three apostles from this small, unimportant village. The apostle was supposedly married and had three daughters. Two of them were said to have died virgins and martyrs. The third was buried in Ephesus. Papias, a bishop of Hierapolis around the year 130, also mentioned these three daughters, whom he knew personally

Andrew had brought Philip the first news of the Messiah. Andrew introduced Philip to the Lord. "The next day he was about to leave for Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow me."

When Jesus was about to perform a miracle and feed a multitude of people with a small amount of food, Jesus asked Philip where they should buy the bread to feed the people. But, Jesus was testing Philip, for Jesus already knew that He would perform a miracle (John 6:5-6). Phillip was present during the prayer meeting in the upper room with the 120 (Acts 1:13-15), after the ascension of Jesus.

Philip the Evangelist was one of the seven appointed by the apostles to take care of the growing Christian community and to look after their widows and the needy (Acts 6:1-6). He went to Samaria where he preached and performed miracles (Acts 8:4-6). According to Acts 21:9, Philip's three unmarried daughters had the gift of prophecy.

Philip's name was placed each time in the fifth position. This fact has a meaning of its own. Philip did not belong to the first group, to the specially honored and privileged four. Yet after these, he was without a doubt the first one to be considered. The order in which our Lord chose and called His disciples already placed this good companion of John in the fifth place. This apostle became the leader of the second group of apostles: Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas.

Bartholomew was also a friend of Philip and accompanied Philip on his missionary journeys, he stood by him in the face of martyrdom. As friends, these two apostles often spoke together their desire to follow the Messiah.

The first clue to Philip's personality can be taken from the Gospel of St. John. The evangelist recorded three incidents in the life of Philip. Just as the true and exact record of all Philip's labors is enshrouded in obscurity, so is this apostle's death. He died a martyr. Philip has been reported as being crucified in Hierapolis at the age of eighty-seven, during the reign of Emperor Domitian. His crucifixion was recorded as similar to that of Peter-upside down.

The relics of Philip were supposedly brought to Rome, where they were placed, together with those of the apostle James the Less, in the church of the twelve apostles. This accounts for the fact that the Roman Church, for many centuries, celebrated the feast of these two companions on the same day, the first of May. The remains of the Philip who was interred in Hieropolis were later translated (as those of the Apostle) to Constantinople and thence to the church of the Dodici Apostoli in Rome.

Much simpler and more profound are the true words that Philip spoke in the Gospel:"' Lord, show us the Father and it is enough.'" Well might he have repeated this as a martyr before the gates of eternity. To the Father, to the last source of all, the inner desires of every man turn.

 

 

St. Philip's feast day is May 11 along with St. James the Less.

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