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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of the apostles Philip and James

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 12, 20-28

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.

These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, 'Sir, we should like to see Jesus.'

Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus.

Jesus replied to them: Now the hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.

In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me, must follow me, and my servant will be with me wherever I am. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour.

Father, glorify your name! A voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and I will again glorify it.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The memory of the two apostles has been celebrated together since the sixth century, when the Basilica of the Saint Apostles in Rome, which preserves their relics, was dedicated to them. Philip is among the first to be called by Jesus, and James is one of the privileged witnesses of the mission of the prophet of Nazareth. Both, with their testimony, have led many who sought salvation to the Lord. The Gospel tells of some Greeks who come to Philip and ask him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” It is a question that manifests the need for the help of a brother or sister in order to meet Jesus. It is a constant aspect in the history of the Christians. Even today, those who want to see Jesus must question his disciples. This also means to say that the fate of the Gospel, in a certain way, depends on the disciples, as well as on each of us. We must ask ourselves if we are able to grasp the requests of love that we are asked, sometimes explicitly as it happened in this case, or even in a hidden but no less urgent way, as so often happens on ordinary days. Unfortunately, our concentration on ourselves often makes us deaf to the cries of others. And we should not forget that it is not possible to follow Jesus in a solitary and individualistic way. Too many times we have even individualized faith. Yet faith is a gift that encourages the recipients to live not for themselves, but to bring the Gospel to all, and especially to those who are poor and alone. In answering Philip, Jesus suggests to us the way to be followed. He responds, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” He specifies, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” With a short and simple metaphor, Jesus sums up his entire life, and we understand the full synthesis of his message. The answer to be given to the Greeks involves the disciples themselves. In fact, Jesus adds, “And where I am, there will my servant also be.” The meaning of life is marked by our following Jesus; to live is to be with him, to learn from him how to give our life for everyone. This is the way the disciples show the Lord to those they meet. The apostle James, who was among the first martyrs, has shown it with deeds and in words. The tradition tells that, as he was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple, he prayed the same words of Jesus: “Lord, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

Memory of the Apostles