In his talk, Fr. Matt Buening shares insights from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
- PAUL IN PHILIPPI — He tells Silas and Timothy that they need to go to a new continent — in Europe. Because it is in Philippi that he establishes his first church in Europe, Paul has a special place in his heart for this Church. He says they are his joy and his crown and he visits this church three times. In his first visit (Acts 16), he meets Lydia and converts her (1st convert in Europe) and her entire household is baptized. Things were going well. Then, they met a slave girl who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling. She began to follow Paul, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” After doing this for many days, Paul became annoyed and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” At that very moment it did and Paul thought he is free at least. Unfortunately when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, Paul was arrested, stripped, beaten, and thrown into jail and was chained up. Paul realizes this is an opportunity to evangelize in jail and the prisoners were hearing it. When an earthquake hit, it freed them all, but Paul did not leave lest the jailor be caught and accused of this and commit suicide. The jailor converts and takes Paul home to baptize his entire household. One cannot have more success in a missionary jouncy is such a short time. He converts the super rich (Lydia and household), the poor (Prisoners as well as the Jailor and household) and the Magistrate and City Officials. Paul shook the foundation of Philippi.
- LESSON FOR US — Ft. Matt Buening then hit some highlights from this letter to serve as practical applications to make our Church strong and for us to become saints. First, we can be a slave to the most high God and also be a Saint. Second, do not doubt because the one who began a good work in you will complete it. Third, even in the most difficult of situations (prison) we can advance the gospel. God will allow great things to happen in spite of hinderance and we can be fearless for God due to Paul. We should realize that we are ok in both abundance and in need. As Saint Ignatius preaches, to attain salvation is to make our selves indifferent to all created things and we should choose only that for which is the end for which we were created. Stop pursuing the means to the ends. Christ is the only one that will make us happy. Follow Him, serve others, and seek unity by humbly regarding others as more important. Sacrifice bring joy and peace and you will be a light in the darkness. Seek what is in the best interest of others and the common good. He concluded with the story about people in hell with long spoon. As much as they tried, they could not get food into their own mouths. But, those in Heaven had the same spoons, but they choose to feed each other and all were satisfied. If people keep loving on each other, motivations become purer and grace works through that. Keep in mind also that when someone says I don’t need your help, this is a lack of humility and it break the circle. Best verse is Ch 4:8-9.