October 5 Epistle Reading

Philippians 2:17-23

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. 19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.

St. John Chrysostom in his Homilies VIII and IX on Philippians II said:

“He is both consoling them about his own death, and instructing them to bear gladly the death that is for Christ’s sake. I have become, he says, as it were a libation and a sacrifice. O blessed soul! His bringing them to God he calls a sacrifice …Do you see that he shows that it is their duty to rejoice? …So that the death of the just is no subject for tears but for joy …Let us also rejoice when we see a righteous man dying, and even more when any of the desperately wicked die; for the first is going to receive the reward of his labors, but the other has abated somewhat from the score of his sins. But it is said, perhaps he might have altered, had he lived. Yet God would never have taken him away, if there had really been a prospect of an alteration. For why should not He who orders all events for our salvation allow him the opportunity, who gave promise of pleasing Him? …Let the voice of lamentation cease. Let us thank God under all events: let us do all things without murmuring…”

“You see then how he refers everything to Christ, even the mission of Timothy, saying, ‘I hope in the Lord Jesus,’ that is, I am confident that God will facilitate this for me, that I too may be of good courage, when I know your state …His love was manifested not simply in reporting his own state, but in his desire to learn of theirs; for this is the part of a soul which has a care for others …Had he then no one of those who were with him? No one likeminded, that is, who has yearnings and takes thought for you as I do …Timothy is the one with me who loves you …This then is likemindedness, to love the disciples as the master loves them.”

Augustine the Blessed in his Sermon 4 on the New Testament said:

“The very words of the Gospel carry with them their own explanation; nor do they shut the mouths of those who hunger, seeing they feed the hearts of them that knock. The intention of a man’s heart, its direction and its aim, is what is to be regarded. For if he who wishes his good works to be seen of men, sets before men his own glory and advantage, and seeks for this in the sight of men, he does not fulfill either of those precepts which the Lord has given as touching this matter; because He has at once looked to ‘doing his righteousness before men to be seen of them;’ and his light has not so shined before men that they should see his good works, and glorify His Father which is in heaven. It was himself he wished to be glorified, not God; he sought his own advantage, and loved not the Lord’s will. Of such the Apostle says, ‘For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.’ Accordingly, the sentence was not finished at the words, ‘Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works;’ but there was immediately subjoined why this was to be done; ‘that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven;’ that when a man who does good works is seen of men, he may have only the intention of the good work in his own conscience, but may have no intention of being known, save for the praise of God…”

(the above icon was found on this website and is an Ethiopian icon of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy on Parchment from the early 15th century…)

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