Phil 2:12-18; Ps 27:1,4, 13-14; Lk 14:25-33
The LORD is our light and salvation. We are not afraid of humiliation, and indeed our lives have become a refuge for many souls. The only thing we ask is to dwell in the house of the LORD and to gaze upon the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple. We believe that we will see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living. We wait for the LORD with courage; we are stouthearted and wait for the LORD. Our suffering enables us to grow in wisdom that we can share with all who came to unburden themselves upon us; we can teach those who come to us, “Blessed be God in all his designs.” Indeed, we are never bitter because of our lack of any preferred ministry instead, we become beautiful because of it. Such is the blessing we wait for, all of us who find in the Cross our only friend.
Even in his absence the Apostle Paul would hear the good news of his beloved converts. His joy is boundless as he writes to the Church in Philippi. He praises their obedience and their struggle to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. This is the kind of virtue that keeps us in service to the poor and needy. Like these early believers in Philippi, we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We find our delighted in the mercy and kindness of God who, for his good purpose, works in us all he desires and in all he does. We strive to do everything without grumbling or questioning, so that we may become more and more blameless and innocent, a child of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we are to shine like a light in the world. With Saint Paul and all the unknown saints throughout the history of the church, we do not run in vain or labor in vain. Christ poured himself out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of his faith. It must be our joy to serve in any way that we can. We must not cling to our rights and dignity, but we pour ourselves out in faithful service to those who also suffered great indignities and constant humiliations. Indeed, this is the rejoicing found in the hearts of all who serve the Master, who himself was humiliated and suffered gladly for the salvation of his Beloved Bride.
A life of detachment in which one renounces all possessions is the life of discipleship. As clergy, religious, or laity, all believers are summoned by the Lord Jesus to be detached from the desire to possess anyone or anything. We must be attached to God alone. The only desire that must grow stronger every day is the desire to possess God himself, not his gifts or his blessings, but God. There is no experience of God that is God. Every experience is just than, an experience. God alone fulfills the deepest desire of the human heart. We are created to be filled with God, and until we are so filled we are restless in heart, mind and spirit. The Lord Jesus is not interested in keeping the crowds happy or loyal. He wants everyone who comes to him to renounce all attachments to family and even life itself. Indeed, no one can follow the Lord Jesus without carrying his own cross. The Lord Jesus teaches the wisdom of the cross by his illustration of the builder and the warrior king. Neither would begin a building or a military campaign without a careful assessment of his resources and his limitations. Can we bear the humiliation of our limitations and still serve with joy? This question is at the heart of every would-be disciple of the Lord Jesus. Indeed, only attachment to the Cross of Christ will enable us to persevere in a life of prayer and service.