History hasn’t left us with many details about what happened to Saint Philip and Saint James after Pentecost. We don’t even know for sure whether this James (also known as ‘James the Less’) is the apostle who administered the church in Jerusalem, the one who wrote the New Testament letter with that name, or another James altogether.
What we do know is that both Philip and James were with Our Lord throughout his ministry, that they witnessed his death and resurrection, and that they were in the upper room at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down upon them. Tradition tells us that both Philip and James were martyred because of their witness to Christ. We may not know the details, but we can trust that, just as Our Lord promised, these two men did end their days doing even “greater works” than he did, as they went out into the world with the message of the Gospel.
We too have received the Holy Spirit, and we too have been called to announce the Gospel. Our task is to evangelise, to teach and to bless those with whom we share our lives. We Catholics tend to be very good at knowing what is expected of us, even if we don’t always do it. But today, maybe we should dare to dream instead of think about where we may be falling short.
If Our Lord really did promise that we could do greater works than he did, what might those works look like? What wonders might Our Lord be prepared to work through us if we step out in faith and trust? Saints in the past have done some pretty amazing things in Our Lord’s name because of their faith. Can we expect the same to happen for us? Perhaps we need to take Our Lord at his word and see what happens.