O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth.
A lot of my thoughts these days are spent thinking about my Aunt Jackie. She is unique to me and my brothers and sister because she was so close in age to us. As much as I loved my other aunts (and uncles), there was always a closer bond to Aunt Jackie (which I still call her to this day). Growing up, family was an important part of our lives; at least once a month we celebrated Sunday dinner with my Mom’s family and one of those Sunday’s was for the celebration of all the birthday’s of the month. I am old enough to remember when Aunt Jackie starting dating her now husband, Jim. I remember vividly her wedding day, and even more vividly, her wedding reception and the joy and fun we had that night eating, drinking Shirley Temples and dancing the night away. She remains close to all of us to this day – she is a part of our daily text message. We have found the easiest way for all of us to communicate with each other regularly is by a group text message. We are able to keep up with each others lives – we laugh, we cry, we remember days of old, we share Seinfeld clips, pictures of days past. We enjoy each other daily and I thank God for that daily.
So back to my thoughts. As I mentioned yesterday, my Aunt is now fighting a battle with leukemia and as I read the first reading from the optional Mass – from the 2nd Chapter of Philippians, my thoughts kept going to her and her family this morning. So, although rather lengthy, I’m posting here the entire chapter and it’s footnotes. Aunt Jackie, I know you read this post everyday and I hope you are able to draw some inspiration from this today to help you in fight against leukemia…
Plea for Unity and Humility .* 1 If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy,2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. a 3 Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,b 4 each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others.c
5 Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,*
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.*
7 Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;*
and found human in appearance,e
8 he humbled himself,f
becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.*
9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name*
that is above every name,g
10 that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,*
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,h
11 and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,*
to the glory of God the Father.i
Obedience and Service in the World.* 12 j So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.*13 For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. k 14 Do everything without grumbling or questioning,l 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,* among whom you shine like lights in the world,m 16 as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. n 17 But, even if I am poured out as a libation* upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you .o 18 In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.p
Timothy and Paul. 19 I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy* to you soon, so that I too may be heartened by hearing news of you. q 20 For I have no one comparable to him for genuine interest in whatever concerns you. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. r 22 But you know his worth, how as a child with a father he served along with me in the cause of the gospel. 23 He it is, then, whom I hope to send as soon as I see how things go with me, 24 but I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.*
Epaphroditus. 25 With regard to Epaphroditus,* my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister in my need, I consider it necessary to send him to you. s 26 For he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was ill. 27 He was indeed ill, close to death; but God had mercy on him, not just on him but also on me, so that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I send him therefore with the greater eagerness, so that, on seeing him, you may rejoice again, and I may have less anxiety. 29 Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy and hold such people in esteem, t 30 because for the sake of the work of Christ he came close to death, risking his life to make up for those services to me that you could not perform.
* [2:1–11] The admonition to likemindedness and unity (Phil 2:2–5) is based on the believers’ threefold experience with Christ, God’s love, and the Spirit. The appeal to humility (Phil 2:3) and to obedience (Phil 2:12) is rooted in christology, specifically in a statement about Christ Jesus (Phil 2:6–11) and his humbling of self and obedience to the point of death (Phil 2:8).
* [2:5] Have…the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus: or, “that also Christ Jesus had.” While it is often held that Christ here functions as a model for moral imitation, it is not the historical Jesus but the entire Christ event that Phil 2:6–11 depict. Therefore, the appeal is to have in relations among yourselves that same relationship you have in Jesus Christ, i.e., serving one another as you serve Christ (Phil 2:4).
* [2:6–11] Perhaps an early Christian hymn quoted here by Paul. The short rhythmic lines fall into two parts, Phil 2:6–8 where the subject of every verb is Christ, and Phil 2:9–11 where the subject is God. The general pattern is thus of Christ’s humiliation and then exaltation. More precise analyses propose a division into six three-line stanzas (Phil 2:6; 7abc, 7d–8, 9, 10, 11) or into three stanzas (Phil 2:6–7ab, 7cd–8, 9–11). Phrases such as even death on a cross (Phil 2:8c) are considered by some to be additions (by Paul) to the hymn, as are Phil 2:10c, 11c.
* [2:6] Either a reference to Christ’s preexistence and those aspects of divinity that he was willing to give up in order to serve in human form, or to what the man Jesus refused to grasp at to attain divinity. Many see an allusion to the Genesis story: unlike Adam, Jesus, though…in the form of God (Gn 1:26–27), did not reach out for equality with God, in contrast with the first Adam in Gn 3:5–6.
* [2:7] Taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness: or “…taking the form of a slave. Coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance.” While it is common to take Phil 2:6, 7 as dealing with Christ’s preexistence and Phil 2:8 with his incarnate life, so that lines Phil 2:7b, 7c are parallel, it is also possible to interpret so as to exclude any reference to preexistence (see note on Phil 2:6) and to take Phil 2:6–8 as presenting two parallel stanzas about Jesus’ human state (Phil 2:6–7b; 7cd–8); in the latter alternative, coming in human likeness begins the second stanza and parallels 6a to some extent.
* [2:10–11] Every knee should bend…every tongue confess: into this language of Is 45:23 there has been inserted a reference to the three levels in the universe, according to ancient thought, heaven, earth, under the earth.
* [2:17] Libation: in ancient religious ritual, the pouring out on the ground of a liquid offering as a sacrifice. Paul means that he may be facing death.
* [2:25] Epaphroditus: sent by the Philippians as their messenger (literally, “apostle”) to aid Paul in his imprisonment, he had fallen seriously ill; Paul commends him as he sends him back to Philippi.
I know this is a long post, but in consideration my Aunt Jackie, it will give her something to stay occupied with while in her room. Aunt Jackie, know that I will always pray for you and speaking on behalf of Sarah and all of our children – know that your are loved by all of us.
Do something great for our Lord today – consider the needs of others first. Pay attention to the words of St. Paul and learn to be Christ-like in all that you today and everyday.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.