03Nov 03 November. Saturday of Week Thirty

Ph. 1:18-26. Taking everything in stride, so that he may preach the Gospel.

Luke 14:1ff- Take the lowest place at a wedding party. The humble shall be exalted.

Listen to your heart

The Christians at Philippi must have asked Paul about people who went round preaching about Christ, yet did not take part in their Eucharist or prayer-meetings. We remember a similar episode in the gospel (Lk 9:49-50) and in each case envy is the fault which is not allowed among his disciples. Paul replies that whenever anyone proclaims Christ, whatever the motives, it brings him joy. He reduces the entire gospel to that single word, “Christ”, who lives as our risen saviour.. For “it is not ourselves we preach but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Cor 4:4-5).

Unlike the evangelists Paul’s gospel does not record the words and deeds of Jesus. Rather his gospel is about the risen Jesus, alive now within the community. Every action and word among the believers becomes an action or statement of the “body of Christ.” What joy filled the heart of Paul and what holiness was transmitted to others, by simply mentioning the name “Christ.” With this name he felt he could sweep aside all envy and envy among the faithful.

Too many good people want their goodness to be known and recognized. Too many pull rank and “sit in the place of honour.” In today’s parable Jesus is kind enough to adapt himself to this common weakness of saintly people. “Sit in the lowest place.. so that the host will say, ‘My friend, come up higher,’ then you will win esteem.” It seems that Jesus is saying: if you must win esteem, at least go about it in a proper, civilized way. The gospel ends with the most difficult commandment of all, humility. The commandment to be humble is the stumbling block of believers and even they have to see an exaltation offered as a reward.

Philippians 1:18-26

What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-11

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath, they were watching him closely.

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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