Then the two disciples said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem, where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Lk 24:32- 35)Have I ever noticed how many of the seven resurrection appearances of Jesus involve food?
Four of them. Jesus ate with the disciples the night before he died, and he continues to do the same thing after he rose from the dead. That’s because he wanted to teach the disciples that he continues to be present with them.
A certain kind of connection happens when people share a meal together. The risen Christ came to his disciples not just so they could see that he was alive. He came to engage the disciples, to connect with them in a personal way and he did this by sharing meals with them.
The risen Christ comes among us today in order to engage us, to connect with us, and to draw us into his living and dying and passing through death to life. He still does this by sharing a meal with us in the Eucharist.
When I go to the Eucharist, am I ready for this kind of connection with him?
James the Lesser
Today’s feast of SS. Philip and James honors James, son of Alphaeus, who is listed four times in the New Testament as one of the Twelve.
James is often called “the Lesser” to distinguish him from James, son of Zebedee, “the Greater.” Perhaps James is called “Lesser” because he was the younger (or the shorter) of the two James, or because he was called by Jesus to become a disciple after the call of James the Greater.
James the Lesser was a key figure in the early Church.He was one of the first apostles to see the risen Christ, and is thought to be the James mentioned as head of the Church in Jerusalem. Tradition says St. James the Lesser was clubbed to death in the spring of 62 A.D. for refusing to renounce his faith. Josephus says he was stoned to death a year earlier. St. James the Lesser is the patron saint of pharmacists and Spain.
* * * The Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Rome has the relics of St. James and St. Philip under the main altar, and that is why they are honored together in today’s feast.