Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself . . . and, found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Many consider today’s first reading to be the most beautiful Christological hymn in the New Testament. Its theology and expression are reminiscent of the Prologue of Saint John’s gospel.
In this magnificent passage, the apostle Paul penetrates the depths of the mystery of the incarnation. The eternal Word, equal in majesty and glory to the Father, became fully human, accepting even death. The underlying theology is kenotic, from the Greek word for “emptying.” For us and in perfect obedience to the will of God, Christ Jesus put aside his divinity, with only fleeting manifestations of it at his baptism, transfiguration, and paschal mystery.
Significantly, Paul introduces the hymn with a call to imitate the Lord, to make his attitude the pattern of our life both in how we relate to one another and respond to God. It moves us beyond self to acts of generous self-giving, concern for others, and obedience to God’s will, even if it demands more of us than we ever thought possible.
Today is Election Day in the United States. This reading says something, too, about faithful citizenship. Beyond partisanship and self-interest lies a shared responsibility for the political life, values, and vision of our republic and its leaders. As George Washington prayed earnestly on June 14, 1783, “Without a humble imitation of the example of the Divine Author of our blessed religion in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.”
Let us pray:
Grant me time and wisdom, O God, to sacrifice everything and to love you for yourself. Amen. (Based on number 1793 of the correspondence of Saint Peter Julian Eymard)
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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