Pope Benedict on The Apostle Philip
"He Invites Us to Come and See Jesus"
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 7, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Wednesday's at the general audience, held in St. Peter's Square. The Pope dedicated his talk to present the figure of the Apostle Philip.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Continuing to sketch the portrait of the various apostles, as we have been doing for some weeks, we meet today with Philip. In the lists of the Twelve he always appears in fifth place (in Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13), that is, essentially among the first.
Although Philip was of Jewish origin, his name is Greek, as is Andrew's, which constitutes a small gesture of cultural openness that must not be underestimated. The news we have of him comes from the Gospel of John. He was from the same place as Peter and Andrew, namely, Bethsaida (cf. John 1:44), a small city that belonged to the tetrarchy of one of Herod the Great's sons, who was also called Philip (cf. Luke 3:1).
The fourth Gospel says that, after being called by Jesus, Philip meets with Nathanael and tells him: "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:45). In face of Nathanael's rather skeptical response -- "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" -- Philip does not give up and answers decisively: "Come and see" (John 1:46).
With this response, dry but clear, Philip demonstrates the characteristics of the authentic witness: He is not content with presenting the announcement as a theory, but questions the interlocutor directly, suggesting that he himself have the personal experience of what was proclaimed. Jesus uses those two same verbs when two disciples of John the Baptist approach him to ask him where he lives: Jesus answers: "Come and see" (cf. John 1:38-39).
We can think that Philip questions us with those two verbs which imply a personal participation. He also tells us what he said to Nathanael: "Come and see." The apostle commits us to know Jesus up close. In fact, friendship, to truly know the other, requires closeness, what is more, in part lives from it. In fact, we must not forget that, according to what Mark writes, Jesus chose the Twelve with the primary objective that they "be with him" (Mark 3:14), that is, that they share his life and learn directly from him not only the style of his behavior, but above all who he really was.
Only thus, participating in his life, could they know and proclaim him. Later on, in the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, we read that what is important is "the Christ that they learned" (4:20), that is, what is important is not only or above all to listen to his teachings, his words, but to know him personally, that is, his humanity and divinity, the mystery of his beauty.
He is not only a Teacher, but a Friend, more than that, a Brother. How can we know him if we are far from him? Intimacy, familiarity, custom, make us discover the true identity of Jesus Christ. This is precisely what the Apostle Philip reminds us. That is why he invites us to "come" and "see," that is, to enter into a contact of listening, of response and communion of life with Jesus, day after day.
On the occasion of the multiplication of loaves, he received from Jesus a precise request, quite surprising: Where was it possible to buy the bread needed to feed all the people who were following him (cf. John 6:5). Then, Philip answered with much realism: "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little" (John 6:7).
Here we can see the realism and practical spirit of the apostle, who was able to judge the implications of a situation. We know what happened afterward. We know that Jesus took the loaves, and after praying, distributed them. In this way, he effected the multiplication of the loaves. But it is an interesting fact that Jesus addressed Philip specifically, to have a first impression on the solution of the problem: evident sign that he formed part of the restricted group that surrounded him.
In another instance, very important for the future history, before the Passion, some Greeks were in Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover, they "came to Philip ... and asked him, 'Sir, we would like to see Jesus.' Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus" (John 12:20-22). Once again we are before a vestige of his particular prestige within the apostolic college. In this case, in particular, he carries out the functions of intermediary between the request of some Greeks -- he probably spoke Greek and was able to act as interpreter -- and Jesus; though he joins Andrew, the other apostle with a Greek name, in any case, the foreigners turn to him.
This teaches us also to be willing both to accept requests and invocations, wherever they come from, as well as to direct them to the Lord, as only he can satisfy them fully. It is important, in fact, to know that we are not the last recipients of the requests of those who approach us, but the Lord: We must direct to him those who are in difficulties. Each one of us must be an open path to him!
There is another highly particular opportunity in which Philip intervenes. During the Last Supper, after Jesus affirmed that to know him also meant to know the Father (cf. John 14:7), Philip, almost naively asked him: "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us" (John 14:8).
Jesus answered him in a tone of benevolent reproach: "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? [...] Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (John 14:9-11). They are one of the most sublime words of the Gospel of John. They contain an authentic revelation. At the end of the "Prologue" of his Gospel, John affirms: " No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him" (John 1:18).
Well then, that statement, which is of the evangelist, is taken up and confirmed by Jesus himself, but with a detail. In fact, while John's "Prologue" speaks of an explanatory intervention of Jesus through the words of his teaching, in his answer to Philip, Jesus makes reference to his own person as such, leading us to understand that he can only be understood through what he says, more than that, through what he is. To help us understand, using the paradox of the Incarnation, we can say that God assumed a human face, that of Jesus, and consequently, from now on, if we really want to know the face of God, we have only to contemplate Jesus' face! In his face we really see who God is and how he is!
The evangelist does not tell us if Philip understood Jesus' phrase fully. What is certain is that he handed his life over to him totally. According to some subsequent accounts ("Acts of Philip" and others), our apostle evangelized Greece in the first instance and then Phrygia, and there he faced death, in Hieropolis, with a torture that some mention as crucifixion and others as stoning.
We wish to end our reflection recalling the objective toward which our life should be directed: to find Jesus, as Philip found him, trying to see in him God himself, the heavenly Father. If this commitment is lacking, we find ourselves alone with ourselves, as before a mirror, and we are ever more alone! Instead, Philip invites us to let ourselves be conquered by Jesus, to be with him and to share this indispensable company. In this way, seeing, finding God, we can find true life.
[At the end of the audience, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Continuing our catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry, we now turn to the Apostle Philip. Philip was a native of Bethsaida, like Peter and Andrew. In the Gospel of John, it was Philip who told Nathanael about Jesus and then led him to the Lord with the words "Come and see!" (John 1:46).
Later, when some Greeks wished to see Jesus, they asked Philip and he immediately brought them to him (John 12:20-22). Like every good evangelist, Philip not only spoke to others about Christ, but invited them to meet him personally.
Jesus in fact chose his apostles "to be with him" (Mark 3:14) and in this way to know him and become his friends. At the Last Supper, Philip asked: "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied," to which Jesus replied: "Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father" (John 14:9-11).
To know Jesus is to know God. In Jesus, the eternal Son, God takes on a human face. According to tradition, Philip died a martyr's death after preaching the Gospel in Greece and Phrygia. By his example and prayers, may we deepen our friendship with Jesus and joyfully invite others to "come and see" the Lord.
I warmly welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims present at this audience, including members of the Brothers of Charity services in County Cork, Ireland, and the staff and students from St. Joseph's Institute in Copenhagen. May your time in Rome deepen your love of Christ and his Church. Upon you all I invoke God's abundant blessings!
© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Pope Benedict XVI - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Pope, Benedict, Philip, Apostle
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- St. Patrick: Saint of the Day for Saturday, March 17, 2018
- Daily Readings for Saturday, March 17, 2018
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 34
- Saint Patrick Calls All Christians to be Missionaries to this Age
- 'Living Lent': Sunday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 33
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 19th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 18th, 2018 HD
- The Earth is Dying: Human impact continues to shape the future of the planet HD
- Thousands of students walk out of schools to protest gun violence HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, March 17th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education