Johannine Hours



Philippians 2:1-11

December 1997
Philippians 2:1-11

By means of an ancient Christian hymn, Saint Paul shows how a life of faith is rooted in the behaviour of Christ himself. The hymn starts from the question "What does it mean to be of divine status?" And the astonishing answer shows how different the living God is from our human ideas concerning the deity. Being God does not mean at all trying to hold on to the first place, but rather lowering oneself as far as possible out of love. The incarnation and the atrocious death of Christ are thus explained as the "logical" consequence--a divine logic, unsettling for us--of his identity as the Son of God.

And to show us that this is in fact God's logic and not a mere failure or misunderstanding, God raises up Christ to the highest place in the universe and proclaims his true identity: he is the Kyrios, the Lord, the one who reigns in God's name. The resurrection and the ascension reveal the meaning of Christ's life and death and show their consequences for the whole of creation. Every creature can henceforth enter into the current of this divine logic which has now become manifest at the heart of the world.

From now on, there can be no room in the community of Christ's disciples for personal ambition, for running after prestige or honours. On the contrary, the rule of life for believers is mutual submission (cf. Eph 5,21). When they act this way in the image of Christ, the faithful see the bonds of communion between them become more and more intimate and intense.



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