October 6 Epistle Reading

Philippians 2:24-30

24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly. 25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

St. John Chrysostom in his Homily IX on Philippians II wrote:

“And him too he sends with the same praises as Timothy, for he commended himo n these two points: first in that he loved them when he says, ‘who will care truly for you,’ and secondly, in that he had approved himself in the Gospel …Calling him a brother, and a fellow worker, and not stopping at this point, but also fellow soldier …(Paul) had to speak to men of the world, who still feared death. He shows how he esteemed Epaphroditus, and so he gets respect for him by saying that his preservation was so useful to himself that the mercy which had been shown to Epaphroditus reached him also…”

“‘In the Lord’ either means spiritually and with much zeal, or rather ‘in the Lord’ means God willing. Receive him in a manner worthy of saints, as saints should be received with all joy …This man had been publicly sent by the city of the Philippians, who had come to minister to Paul, and perchance bringing him some contribution, for toward the end of the Epistle, he shows that he also brought him money, when he says, ‘Having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you’ (Phil.4:18). It is probably then, that on his arrival at the city of Rome, he found Paul in great and urgent peril, so that those who were accustomed to resort to him were unable to do so safely, but were themselves in peril by their very attendance …And if he gave himself up to death to attend on Paul, much more would he have endured this for the Gospel’s sake …Such causes as these also make death martyrdom …Let us therefore when we see the saints in danger, not regard our life, for it is impossible without daring ever to perform any noble act. He who takes thought beforehand for his safety here should fall from that which is to come.”

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