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PHILIP was one of the first chosen disciples of Christ. On the way from Judea to Galilee Our Lord found Philip, and said, "Follow Me" Philip straightway obeyed; and then in his zeal and charity sought to win Nathaniel also, saying, "We have found Him of Whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth;" and when Nathaniel in wonder asked, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" Philip simply answered, "Come and see," and brought him to Jesus. Another characteristic saying of this apostle is preserved for us by St. John. Christ in His last discourse had spoken of His Father; and Philip exclaimed, in the fervor of his thirst for God, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough"
St. James the Less, the author of an inspired epistle, was also one of the Twelve. St. Paul tells us that he was favored by a special apparition of Christ after the Resurrection. On the dispersion of the apostles among the nations, St. James was left as Bishop of Jerusalem; and even the Jews held in such high veneration his purity, mortification, and prayer, that they named him the Just. The earliest of Church historians has handed down many traditions of St. James's sanctity. He was always a virgin, says Hegesippus, and consecrated to God. He drank no wine, wore no sandals on his feet, and but a single garment on his body. He prostrated himself so much in prayer that the skin of his knees was hardened like a camel's hoof. The Jews, it is said, used out of respect to touch the hem of his garment. He was indeed a living proof of his own words, "The wisdom that is from above first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, full of mercy and good fruits." He sat beside St. Peter and St. Paul at the Council of Jerusalem; and when St. Paul at a later time escaped the fury of the Jews by appealing to Cæsar, the people took vengeance on James, and crying, "The just one hath erred," stoned him to death.
Reflection. —The Church commemorates on the same day Sts. Philip and James, whose bodies lie side by side at Rome. They represent to us two aspects of Christian holiness. The first preaches faith, the second works; the one holy aspirations, the other purity of heart.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? Alleluia; He shall so come as you have seen Him going up into heaven, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 46, 2. O clap your hands, all ye nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. Glory be …
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that, believing Thine only-begotten, our Redeemer, to have ascended to heaven on this day, we, too, may spiritually dwell in heavenly places. Through the same.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.
[The ascension of Christ. Matthias is chosen in place of Judas.]
The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments.
Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 46, 6. God hath ascended in jubilation, and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. Alleluia. Ps. 67, 18, 19. The Lord is in Sina, in His holy place; ascending on high, He hath led captivity captive. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Mark.
[Christ's resurrection and ascension.]
At that time, Jesus At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.
God is ascended in jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet. Alleluia.
Receive, O Lord, the offering which we bring for the glorious ascension of Thy Son, and grant in Thy mercy that we may be delivered from present dangers and may attain unto life everlasting. Through our Lord.
Sing ye to the Lord, Who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east. Alleluia.