Mothers, Saint Philip and Saint James

05-09-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to begin by wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, and spiritual mothers in our parish! Thank you for all the love, sacrifices, and other good works that too often go unnoticed.

Indeed, it is often said that motherhood is the most underappreciated vocation in the world, and I can see why people say this. We love our moms and know we owe them the world, but often take them for granted. Moms – perhaps more than anyone else in our world – tend to ‘fly under the radar.’

With that in mind, let’s all be sure to show our love and appreciation for our mothers today. May this Mother’s Day remind us not to take our moms for granted, but to find ways to say thanks and return the good they do every day.

I write these words on Monday, May 3rd, which is the Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James. As I write it occurs to me that these patron saints of our parish have something in common with the women we honor today. Like our mothers, Philip and James kind of ‘fly under the radar’ as apostles.

They are certainly not as well-known as Peter and Paul, or even Matthew and John. The James in our Saint Philip and Saint James is not even the famous James of ‘Peter, James, and John’ fame.

He is even called Saint James the Less, probably because he was younger than the other Apostle James. But I suspect calling him ‘the less’ was also a way of saying that he was ‘less’ known than the James who was constantly hanging around with Peter, the first pope, and John, the beloved disciple!

Just the same, Saint Philip and Saint James did a great deal for our Lord and His Church. They both answered the call to follow Jesus, and both preached the Gospel zealously after being filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Philip preached in places like Turkey and Greece, where he was ultimately martyred for the Faith.

James, in spite of being the ‘less,’ was a cousin of our Lord. His preaching converted so many people in Jerusalem that he became the first Bishop of that city. He wrote the Letter of James, a book in the New Testament, encouraging Christians to put their faith into action because “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) In the year 62 AD St. James, like all the Apostles except Saint John, was killed for his faith in Jesus.

Like Saint Philip and Saint James, and the mothers we honor today, may we always do our best for Jesus, whether or not anyone appreciates it! May we do our best to love God and neighbor and spread the Good News like the

patron saints of our parish and so many mothers who do what they do not to be noticed, but out of love.

Having finished the First Holy Communions in our parish we are now beginning to celebrate Confirmation. The eighth graders of our parish will be Confirmed in three groups over the next three weeks. Please pray for them as they are filled with the Holy Spirit. May they be open to the Spirit’s guidance and direction, and draw on the strength of the Holy Spirit when they find it hard to follow Jesus in this troubled world.

Let’s also pray that each of us will be a good example to the First Communicants, newly Confirmed, and all the young people of our parish. May they see in us people who find meaning and joy in serving Jesus each day!

Please also pray that Hail Mary for me each day. Let’s also pray for our mothers, living and deceased, and for peace.

Have a great week!
Fr. John