Name Above All Names

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:6-11)

Scripture Study

2:6 Either a reference to Christ’s preexistence and those aspects of divinity that he was willing to give up in order to serve in human form, or to what the man Jesus refused to grasp at to attain divinity. Many see an allusion to the Genesis story: unlike Adam, Jesus, though … in the form of God (Gn 1:26–27), did not reach out for equality with God, in contrast with the first Adam in Gn 3:5–6.

2:7 Taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness: or “… taking the form of a slave. Coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance.” While it is common to take Phil 2:6, 7 as dealing with Christ’s preexistence and Phil 2:8 with his incarnate life, so that lines Phil 2:7b, 7c are parallel, it is also possible to interpret so as to exclude any reference to preexistence (see note on Phil 2:6) and to take Phil 2:6–8 as presenting two parallel stanzas about Jesus’ human state (Phil 2:6–7b; 7cd–8); in the latter alternative, coming in human likeness begins the second stanza and parallels 6a to some extent.

2:8 There may be reflected here language about the servant of the Lord, Is 52:13–53:12 especially Is 53:12.

2:9 The name: “Lord” (Phil 2:11), revealing the true nature of the one who is named.

2:10–11 Every knee should bend … every tongue confess: into this language of Is 45:23 there has been inserted a reference to the three levels in the universe, according to ancient thought, heaven, earth, under the earth.

2:11 Jesus Christ is Lord: a common early Christian acclamation; cf. 1 Cor 12:3; Rom 10:9. But doxology to God the Father is not overlooked here (Phil 2:11c) in the final version of the hymn. 

Scripture Reflection

In what he says about Jesus Christ, the Apostle is not simply proposing him as a model for us to follow. The man-God, Jesus Christ, makes the cross the climax of his earthly life; through it he enters into his glory as Lord and Messiah. The Crucifixion puts the whole universe on the way to salvation.

Jesus Christ gives us a wonderful example of humility and obedience. St Josemaría Escrivá in Christ Is Passing By, reminds us, “We should learn from Jesus’ attitude in these trials. During his life on earth he did not even want the glory that belonged to him. Though he had the right to be treated as God, he took the form of a servant, a slave. And so the Christian knows that all glory is due to God and that he must not use the sublimity and greatness of the Gospel to further his own interests or human ambitions. Jesus’ attitude in rejecting all human glory is in perfect balance with the greatness of his unique mission as the beloved Son of God who becomes incarnate to save men.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Unattached to the World

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”
(Luke 6:20-26)

Scripture Study

6:20 Blessed: God’s children receive his blessing for their faith and adherence to his Law (11:28; Ps 1:1–2; Gal 3:9). See word study: Blessed at Mt 5:3. poor: This may denote material poverty defined by social or economic conditions as well as spiritual poverty defined by inward detachment. Note, however, that even the materially poor can be attached to the little they own, as even the wealthy can live in poverty of spirit (CCC 2444, 2546). ● Morally (St. Ambrose, In Lucam): the Lucan Beatitudes reflect the four cardinal virtues. The poor exhibit temperance as they shun the vain and excessive pleasures of the world. The hungry display justice as they share the plight of the lowly and give to those who have little. Those who weep exercise prudence as they lament the vanity of temporal things and look to what is eternal. Those hated by men exercise fortitude because they persevere when persecuted for their faith (CCC 1805–9).

6:24 woe: A cry of impending distress used by the prophets of Israel (Is 5:8–22; Amos 6:1; Hab 2:6–20). Jesus voices the same cry to warn that disaster awaits the comfortable of the world whose prosperity and notoriety have turned them away from God and the demands of his covenant. rich: Society’s most prosperous and prestigious members. Their success in this life can tempt them to overlook the need for God and his mercy. Worldly wealth is thus dangerous (14:33; 18:24) because it can lead to selfishness and a false sense of security (1 Tim 6:17–19; Heb 13:5; CCC 2547).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel for today is St. Luke’s version of the beatitudes, less well-known than Matthew’s but actually punchier, more to the point. It all hinges on detachment, that decisively important spiritual attitude. Apatheia in the Greek fathers; indifferencia in Ignatius of Loyola. Spiritual detachment means that I am unattached to worldly values that become a substitute for the ultimate good of God.

How bluntly Luke’s account puts things! Look at Luke’s first beatitude, a model for the rest: “Blessed are you poor; the reign of God is yours.” What if we translated this as “how lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things.” When we place material things in the center of our concerns, we find ourselves caught in an addictive pattern.

Because material goods don’t satisfy the hunger in my soul, I convince myself that I need more of them to gain contentment. So I strive and work to get more nice things—cars, homes, TV’s, clothes—and then I find that those don’t satisfy me. So I strive and strive, and the rhythm continues.

Therefore, how lucky I would be if I were poor, unattached to material goods, finally indifferent to them.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.