St. Philip the Apostle
Philip stood with the other apostles and listened to Jesus speak. Jesus’s words drew many people to hear Him speak. Philip marveled at the large number of people Jesus attracted today, but now the people started to grumble; they were hungry. Philip understood their discomfort, for his stomach rumbled also. He looked at the other apostles, especially Andrew. None of them seemed bothered by the lateness of the day.
One of the women that followed Jesus brought Jesus some water. Jesus took a sip and signaled Philip to come forward.
“We need to feed these people. They are too far away from home to send them home at this late hour,” Jesus said.
“We barely have 200 denarii between us. That is not nearly enough to feed all these people.”
Andrew walked up with a little boy at his side. “This boy has some loaves and fish, he wants to share with you, teacher,” Andrew said.
“Thank you.” Jesus turned to Philip. “Take these and distribute them to the hungry people.”
“But this is nowhere near enough to feed all these people,” Philip said as he picked up the basket of fish.
“Have the people sit down,” Jesus said. After the people were seated Jesus offered thanks for the food and instructed Philip and the other apostles to distribute it. Philip shook his head as he took the basket and began to pass food to the people. Every time he thought he had no more to give he would look in the basket only to find more.
After all finished Jesus told the apostles to collect the leftovers. Again, Philip shook his head. How could there be any leftovers? Twelve baskets were filled with leftovers.
Philip traveled with and learned from Jesus, yet he still didn’t quite get who Jesus was.
Close to the end of Jesus’s ministry, we see another example of Philip’s hesitation in belief. Some Greeks asked Philip if they could see and speak with Jesus. Instead of taking them to Jesus he found Andrew and consulted him. Philip had yet to see the scope of Jesus and His mission reach all people. Jesus answers Philip and Andrew’s query by saying, “The hour has come for the ‘Son of Man’ to be glorified. I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12: 23-26)
After Jesus ascended to His Father, Philip left Jerusalem and headed for Samaria. He taught that Jesus came for all, not just the Jews. On his journey, he ran into an Ethiopian. The man had questions about a verse in Isaiah. “Like a lamb he was led to slaughter, like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53: 7) “Who is this man they talk about?
Philip explained that the passage referred to the Christ. When they finished talking Philip baptized the Ethiopian.
Philip finally got it. He continued to teach until he was crucified around 90 AD after he converted a proconsul’s wife. In ancient Rome, a proconsul was a Roman governor.
St. Philip is the patron saint of hat makers and pastry chefs.
St. Philip’s feast day is celebrated along with St. James the Less on May 3.
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