Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

During a young Jesuit’s formation, he is sent out to journey to a holy site in another city or even state. For most of the pilgrimage to this holy place, the young man must beg from others for the food, shelter and transportation he needs. I remember standing on a street corner during my own pilgrimage with a cardboard sign asking strangers to help me get to the next town on this journey. Based on their kindness, based on their love of Christ, I hoped that they would help me get the food and bus ticket I needed for that day.

St. Paul lived a fairly poor life, and probably found himself in need of quite a bit. He could have turned to the Philippians for funds for food or clothing, just like he sought for the aid of Greek speaking churches on behalf of the poor Christians in Jerusalem. We hear him begging in strong terms “If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit…” (Phil 2:1) Yet what does he beg for? Unity. That the Philippians be one through humble love.

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind…humbly regard others as more important than yourselves…everyone [looking out] for [the interests] of others.” (Phil 2:2-4) When God addresses these words to us through the pen of the Apostle, how will we respond? Let us remember this this divine begging the next time we feel tempted to disagree stubbornly with our neighbor, look down at someone, or put our personal desires over the needs of others.

November 3rd, 2014