To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Cor 15:1-8; Jn 14:6-14
Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew which was Bethsaida in Galilee (Jn 1:44). In the first chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus calls Philip directly (1:43). Immediately after his call he found Nathanael whom he shared his experience. To Nathanael’s scepticism, Philip responds in the same words that Jesus used when he invited the first disciples to “Come and see”. In the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fish in which twelve baskets are gathered, Jesus tests Philip by asking him how the people can be fed. Philip’s response indicates that he fails the test (Jn 6:5-7). Here he expresses a similar skepticism that Nathanael expressed. After the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, some Greeks got to Philip with a request to see Jesus (Jn 12:20-21).
James, is James ‘son of Alphaeus’ (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13). Not much is known about him except that he was one of the twelve disciples chosen by the Lord.
The text chosen for the feast is from the Gospel of John. These verses continue the teachings begun in 14:1. The one who knows Jesus also knows the Father for Jesus reveals the Father as Father. In Jesus, one sees the Father as never before because no one has revealed him like Jesus does. Like Thomas before him, now Philip does not understand what Jesus is saying and in his ignorance, asks a question. He does not realize that in seeing Jesus he has seen the Father because of the revelation that Jesus makes of the Father. In offering himself, Jesus has offered all the revelation that the disciples need to identify the Father.
Jesus can only do what the Father has told him and so his works are those of the Father. Philip and the other disciples must be able to see Jesus as the revelation of the Father, if not in his person, at least through the works that Jesus does. The works flow from his person and are not separate from him but an integral part of who Jesus is. The works, too, are works of revelation. They show that the primary aim of God is not to condemn but to save and so are works that enhance and build up.
Since it is Jesus who sends the disciples, the works that anyone who believes in Jesus will do will be the same as those of Jesus. In fact, these will be able to do even greater works than Jesus. These works will make known the whole story of Jesus as Word made flesh and so, will be greater than those which Jesus does. Since these will be done after the whole Christ event – death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father – they will continue the glorification of Jesus. They will continue to reveal Jesus to the world, sitting at the right hand of God. Jesus will answer every prayer of the disciples made in his name and he will grant their petitions.
As Jesus made God known to the world through unconditional, magnanimous love, so the disciples are called to do the same. The works that Jesus did have to be continued today if Jesus is to be made present and is to be revealed to a world that does not yet know him. It is the present community of disciples that has the responsibility to continue the mission that Jesus began. Whenever an enhancing word is spoken, whenever an action that heals is done, whenever love is shown in a tangible manner, then the work of Jesus continues and Jesus continues to be made present.
To be sure, the revelation of God that Jesus made can also be recognized in the depths of one’s heart, but this is not the whole story. It is a love that must be shared and revealed to the world if it is to be complete and whole. The incarnation was not a private revelation given to a select few, but an earth shattering event made visible to the whole world. So the revelation of Jesus, today, has to be done visibly and tangibly.