Archive for December 31st, 2021

Attributed to Valentin de Boulogne: St. Paul Writing his Epistles

Attributed to Valentin de Boulogne: St. Paul Writing his Epistles

Friday, December 31, 2021

Joy and Libation


 The New Testament Letters bring us the good news that the risen Christ still walks with us each day. Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude remind the faithful that although much has been asked of Christ’s followers, much is also given. With them, we remember that there is always hope when we sink into doubt, always light when we walk in darkness, and always joy, even when we suffer sorrow.

Imprisoned when writing this letter to the Philippians, Paul maintains confidence in the power of Christ to rescue and heal. “This beautiful letter is rich in insights into Paul’s theology and his apostolic love and concern for the gospel and his converts. [Paul] reveals his human sensitivity and tenderness, his enthusiasm for Christ as the key to life and death, and his deep feeling for those in Christ who dwell in Philippi. With them he shares his hope and convictions, his anxieties and fears, revealing the total confidence in Christ that constitutes faith”. (Senior 311-312)

It is likely that Paul’s letter brought concern for his welfare to the little Jewish community that Paul had established in this important Roman town in what is today northeastern Greece. It is also likely that his words brought the Philippians a bit of discomfort as he exhorts them to think of others before selves and to put aside disagreements in favor of unity; yet his energy and passion are undeniable.

Paul writes: (1:25): This I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith. (2:1-3) If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves. (2:17-18) 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. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

joyPaul writes to the followers in Philippi and he writes to us. United in heart. Living from selflessness rather than ego. Passionate in our response to Christ’s call. Pouring ourselves out as libations for Christ just as Christ empties himself to rescue us. In his time of trial, fear and weariness, Paul calls us to unity, service, and a deep giving of self with undeniable enthusiasm. What will we do today as a libation for Christ? How do we extend to others this same passionate call to unity and service?

 If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right-hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.311-312. Print. 

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Apostle

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