Jesus is our Model to Follow: 26th Sunday A

By: Father Jim Donohue CR, posted: 2014-09-26

The Constitutions of the Congregation of the Resurrection indicate that Resurrectionists are called to “give glory to God by manifesting the presence of the Risen Christ in the world” (Art. 5).  It further states that we accomplish this best when “we will strive for our own personal sanctification by accepting Christ as our model and by living a life of ever-greater union with him” (Art. 5).   No passage in Scripture can direct this process more clearly than the one that we hear this Sunday in our second reading: Philippians 2:1-11. 

It seems that the people of Philippi are guilty of being selfish and self-centered, and Paul urges them to be “of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking the same thing: do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but everyone for those of others” (Phil 2: 2-4).  And then, to re-enforce his point, Paul asks the people of Philippi to have the same attitude as Christ: although he was in the form of God, he did not cling to equality with God, but rather emptied himself and took the form of a servant who was willing to die on a cross.  So, Paul is asking the people of Philippi to give up selfishness for selflessness through their service and sacrifice for others.  Jesus is the model that Paul holds out for the Philippians and for us today.

Following Jesus in this way is not, of course, the path to diminishment, but one to the fullness of life.  Just as God greatly exalts his Son, the suffering servant, so will God exalt all who are in union with Jesus in service, suffering, and sacrifice.  This is the good news that Paul writes about and this is the good news that Resurrectionists and all Christians proclaim: whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his or her life for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel with save it.  It is the day-in-and-day-out living with this attitude in the ordinary circumstances of our lives that gives glory to God.