• Elpidio Pezzella

Community concord


Therefore if there is any [a] consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit,

if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2 (NKJV)

Paul is in the condition of a prisoner, probably during the difficult moment of Ephesus, when he faces a mortal tribulation (1 Corinthians 1:8-9). From here he writes what has been called the letter "more likewise" letter, because in it the apostle he communicates with the attitude of a friend to other friends and in expressing his feelings does not miss an opportunity to exhort the community. Epiphrodite had come to him from Philippi to exhort him, to encourage him and to give him a contribution for his needs. Paul sends him back to Filippi with this letter, which will be read during worship with all the believers gathered. In expressing his joy, he addressed the Philippians with a call for progress and maturity, and asked them to go further, "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (1:27). The community is called to live in a dignified way in conduct and not in character, shaped and governed by the Gospel of Christ. The apostle is worried that harmony may reign supreme. Here is his appeal to the same soul, to the same thinking, to the same love and to a single sentiment. In other words to go out of love and agree. It is not difficult to speculate that in his visit Epaphroditus informed him of the general state of the community and of the dissent between Evodia and the Syntians (4:2-3), to which Paul makes explicit reference later. Here is his desire to let himself be encouraged by Christ and consoled by the Spirit, putting aside all personal interest. Specifically, they are two women who had collaborated in the development of the community, which were probably part of the initial group that gathered along the river in prayer. And those who work in the service are doubly responsible, because accepting a role of "leadership" means being willing to take on a responsibility that goes beyond personal preferences. And Christ is the example par excellence, as described in the Christological hymn (2:6-11). Believers who want to live and become an authentic community can not be conditioned by the bad example of someone or be carried away in the murmur when some conductor yields to a personal interest: "Do all things without complaining and disputing" (2:14). We do not know what was at the root of discord in the church, and whatever the cause was, the problem had to be quite serious. This is why Paul does not hesitate to mention the names of those who were disturbing the community, because "he considered the selfish eye, the superb mind, the star-eared compliments and the mouth that never expresses it, inappropriate for the body of Christ. heart that had little room for others, and the hand that served only the self" (Fred B. Craddock). Instead, it is a community, like a team, when one supports and covers the other, without ever discovering it or abandoning it. We are therefore exhorted to live the fraternity having in us the feelings of Christ Jesus (2:5), wanting, to look at Paul as a model of how we choose and follow Jesus loving him in our brothers.

Devotional 7/2019 Weekly Bible reading plan February 11 Leviticus 11-12; Matthew 26:1-25 February 12 Leviticus 13; Matthew 26:26-50 February 13 Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:51-75 February 14 Leviticus 15-16; Matthew 27:1-26 February 15 Leviticus 17-18; Matthew 27:27-50 February 16 Leviticus 19-20; Matthew 27:51-66 February 17 Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28

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