Collaborators in the work

12.03.2019

 

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel,

with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
Philippians 4: 2-3

 

The first European community founded in Philippi by the missionary action of Paul and his team is associated in Luke's account of the conversion of Lydia, a trader of Thiatiri purple. She and her entire family are baptized by Paul and Silas, who arrived in the city at a prayer meeting for women near the river. These, after being released from prison, return to his home, where probably in addition to housing for them were held meetings of the nascent Christian community. Lydia is not the only woman directly involved in the work. The first Christian communities were in fact born as "domestic churches", structured around the house that some believers made available to the apostles. The New Testament refers to other women who are rich or of a certain relevance among the main benefactors and who enjoy such consideration as to give them their face and names: Thabita of Jaffa (Acts 9:36-42), Mary, mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12-17), Damaris of Athens (Acts 17:34), illustrious women of Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:4-12), Priscilla and her husband Aquila (Acts 18:2-3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:5), Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2). The same apostle Paul, often considered hastily sexist, in the final greetings and recommendations of each letter, counts among his closest collaborators as women. In Philippi, Evodia and Sintiche are the specific cause of concern on the part of Paul, who invites them to find harmony between them, and appeals to the intervention of the faithful collaborator. The scant news and the few data do not allow to make great disquisitions or conjectures concerning the reason of their dispute.

The apostle defines both, together with Clement and others not named by name, as "collaborator". This is a title attributed by Paul without distinction to men and women with a guiding role, and never to believers in general. In addition to Evodia, Syntyche and Clement the term is attributed in the Pauline writings to Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Priscilla (Romans 16:3), Timothy (Romans 16:21), Apollo (1 Corinthians 3:9), Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23) and Philemon (Philemon 1). The term describes how to work side by side with Paul both in the mission and in the establishment and growth of a particular community. Of these it is said that they "fought together", "that they labored" or "engaged hard". We therefore perceive a sharing of the apostle's labors, which is lightened by such and much help in the chains endured, in the outrages suffered and in all the sufferings and dangers. Fighting together has a missionary horizon and evokes a readiness also to suffer for the cause of the Gospel, in the awareness that "he who plants and he who waters are the same thing, but each will receive his own reward according to his own effort. We are in fact collaborators of God, you are the field of God, the building of God "(1 Corinthians 3:8-9). Every community built by the supreme builder (Psalm 127:1) needs men and women willing to collaborate (to fatigue) for its development and common well-being. My prayer is that each of us can be part of a missionary and apostolic team.


 

Devotional 11/2019
Weekly Bible reading plan

March 11 Deuteronomy 13-15; Mark 12:28-44
March 12 Deuteronomy 16-18; Mark 13:1-20
March 13 Deuteronomy 19-21; Mark 13:21-37
March 14, Deuteronomy 22-24; Mark 14:1-26
March 15 Deuteronomy 25-27; Mark 14:27-53
March 16 Deuteronomy 28-29; Mark 14:54-72
March 17 Deuteronomy 30-31; Mark 15:1-25

Father's Day
On 17 March the Bacchanals were celebrated in the Roman Empire, celebrations in honor of the god Bacchus. Initially celebrated by women, without the presence of men, they lasted three days. It was the priestess Paculla Minia Campana who introduced the presence of men, brought the ceremonies at night and the days to five, making it an immoral party. The church tried to remedy these costumes with a reference to a feast dedicated to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. In our days, the custom of dedicating a day to the celebration of paternal love comes from the United States. The first time of the festival seems to have been at Fairmont, West Virginia, July 5, 1908, at the local Methodist church. Others link it to Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, who, inspired by the sermon he listened to in church on Mother's Day, decided to organize a party in honor of his father, a veteran of the American Civil War, on the occasion of his birthday, on June 19th, 1910. Since then, Father's Day has spread throughout the world, although the day of its celebration varies: many countries have maintained the third Sunday of June, while in countries of Catholic tradition it coincides with 19 March, day of Saint Joseph.


 

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