Paul on Paul – 13th March 2022

2nd Sunday of Lent
Phillippians 3:17 – 4:1

My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us. I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.


It’s hard being a Christian who is seriously trying to be a ‘Good Christian’. Even within the Catholic Church, there are those who disagree with fundamental truths of the faith – the Pope’s Authority; the place of the Mass; and even the truth that Christ teaches! But at least in the 21st Century we know that the Wisdom of Mother Church, under the Pope’s Leadership, will guide us in our faith.

But imagine not 21st century Christianity, but 1st century Christianity. Where Peter’s ‘Papacy’ isn’tuniversally known in new Christian churches & where there is no ‘Bible’ as we would know it today to refer to for guidance in prayer. When those 1st century Christians needed to know what to do, it is only natural that they would turn and copy those around them. This is what – in a way – Paul encourages – but with caution. He says to the Church in Philipi “…My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this…”

This can sound a bit self-important of Paul – he wasn’t people to follow him. But what is important is not that he wants people to follow him, but why. He does it not for fame or glory, but to help people in the faith. He would rather they follow his (self-admittedly) imperfect example than the example of those who are “…proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things”.

This is an urging, really, not to follow those who obsess and focus soley on amassing food – or material posessions. Because, to use a slightly more modern phrase, “There’s no pockets in a shroud”. “For us, our homeland is in heaven“.

This final thing to note here, somethign particualrly appropriate in the Lenten season of waiting is that Paul writes that …”from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ…”. Notice the future tense. That Paul – who is only too aware of and spreads the news of Jesus death, burial and ressurection – is already anticipating his coming again. We too as Christians, as we prepare to commemorates Christ’s Death are, too, sitting, waiting, anticipating His coming again.

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