that's the "less" he can do
"After I have been with you all this time, you still do not know Me?" —John 14:9
We could speculate that Philip and James have traditionally been paired because they were both "less." James has been traditionally called "the Less" to differentiate him from the more prominent James, son of Zebedee, and for other undisclosed reasons.
Philip's words and actions during Jesus' public ministry sometimes showed much less insight and faith than Jesus hoped for. For example, after Jesus had spent years daily revealing the Father to His apostles, Philip said: "Show us the Father" (Jn 14:8). Jesus, probably in exasperation, replied: "After I have been with you all this time, you still do not know Me?" (Jn 14:9) Moreover, before Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed several thousand people, Jesus tested Philip by asking him the question: "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" (Jn 6:5) Philip flunked the test by responding with no understanding of Jesus' identity (see Jn 6:7). James and particularly Philip were often less than Jesus hoped they would be. When they both abandoned Jesus at the time of His crucifixion and death (Mt 26:56), their "less" reached an all-time low.
Nevertheless, Jesus had mercy on Philip and James. The Holy Spirit transformed them at the first Christian Pentecost. The Lord took "the less" and made them most committed and most courageous so that they became missionaries and martyrs. The Lord wants to do the same with us. May "the less" let Him.
Prayer: Father, in my weakness may Your power show its perfection (see 2 Cor 12:9).
Promise: "Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and in which you stand firm. You are being saved by it at this very moment if you hold fast to it as I preached it to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain." —1 Cor 15:1-2
Praise: St. Philip led Nathanael, a future apostle, to Jesus (Jn 1:45ff).
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003