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Submitted by on Tuesday, 4 November 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Philippians 2:5-11
  • Resp. Psalm: Psalm 22:26-27,31-32
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 14:15-24


Paul admonishes the Philippians to take on the humility of Christ who though equal to God emptied himself and took on the form of man.  The self-emptying did not end there, however, because Christ too became like a slave in his obedience to God.  When he died on the cross, he was lower still than that of a slave.  Christ progressively emptied himself becoming the lowest of men, a criminal hanged on wood.  When Paul admonishes the Philippians to be like Christ, he was also thinking of something else.  That Christ emptied himself for the sake of men.  Thus, when Paul asks for humility, he was asking for that kind of humility whereby one puts himself at the service of the other members of the community. 

One may ask:  If the intent of Paul is simply to admonish the Philippians to humility, why did he have to quote the full Christological hymn that ends in the glorification of Christ?  The answer is simple:  He wants the Philippians to see that the one whom he puts as an example of humility is the Lord.  Thus we come to a fitting explanation of what Paul is asking from his community right at the beginning of chapter 2:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

(Philippians (RSV) 2:1-4)

The humility that Paul asks here is very different from the kind of "humility" which a lot of us think.  The servile humility — if we could put it that way — that Paul asks is the opposite of that pride — amor proprio — which sets itself apart from others and encloses oneself in indifference.  Here, humility is not a class of temperance, but rather that of charity  which does not seek its own interest.

Philippians 2:5-11
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
5For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.
8He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.
9For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names:
10That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth:
11And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
Psalm 22:26-27,31-32
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
26With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.
27The poor shall eat and shall be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
31And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
32There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall shew forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.
Luke 14:15-24
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
15When one of them that sat at table with him, had heard these things, he said to him: Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
16But he said to him: A certain man made a great supper, and invited many.
17And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready.
18And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have bought a farm, and I must needs go out and see it: I pray thee, hold me excused.
19And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them: I pray thee, hold me excused.
20And another said: I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the blind, and the lame.
22And the servant said: Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23And the Lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited, shall taste of my supper.

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