Do you know of the great writings of St. Paul? You hear them often at Mass in the wonderful letters he wrote to the people of the cities of Corinth and Thessolonia, of Rome and Philippi, of Ephasis and Colossae.
Yes, the Second Readings at Mass are often those letters to the new Christians and converts of the cities that Paul visited as he traveled his world proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. I love these letters and I am convinced that you will find them filled with good solid advice and instruction that you might grow in your understanding of who God desires we become. I invite you to sit this week for a moment and choose one of the letters to read. Each is written in letter form with a salutation or greeting to the people (or to you) from St. Paul, then the body of the letter contains both encouraging and challenging words for those who have become believers of Jesus. You will experience many emotions in Paul’s writings; love, fear, joy, reprimand, and a sense of urgency in many of his teachings. It is evident as you read that Paul has formed a relationship with the people of the cities he visited and he longs for them to heed his call to change their lives and live as disciples of Jesus Christ. His messages resonate in our lives today and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit remain relevant even after thousands of years. This Sunday we ready from St. Paul’s letter to the people of the city of Philippi we were gifted with an invitation to be humble as Christ was humble; to put others above and before ourselves. Jesus, Paul tells us, emptied himself,
gave up who he was to become a servant to all people. Often when we think of being humbled, we think of a time when we learned that we were not perfect in the sight of others. We are sometimes humbled by our mistakes or misguided actions. This kind of humility is more like humility on the surface. The humility that St. Paul calls us to is a deep, life-changing humility like that of Jesus. It is an offering of one’s self for the good of another which takes much discipline and divine assistance to achieve. When we offer ourselves fully for the well being of others or to a cause that lifts others from despair or poverty or oppression, then we share in the humility of Jesus. St. Paul writes in Philippians 2.3-4: Here we learn of humility that we might not become centered self; for we are not made in God’s image to serve ourselves, rather, we are made in God’s image to love and serve God and his people. Thank you St. Paul for your life-giving messages! And in St. Paul’s closing words to the Philippians:
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Deb Rudolph Pastoral Associate
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC