Commented Bible Passages

These Bible meditations are meant as a way of seeking God in silence and prayer in the midst of our daily life. During the course of a day, take a moment to read the Bible passage with the short commentary and to reflect on the questions which follow. Afterwards, a small group of 3 to 10 people can meet to share what they have discovered and perhaps for a time of prayer.

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Philippians 2:1-5: Living as Friends
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:1-5)

There are times in our lives when we grasp at once how vital unity is. It may be during a meal with friends or else at a family gathering when we see all present conversing and happy to be in one another’s company. Past differences or misunderstandings may not have totally vanished but they lose their strength and importance as the bonds of shared affection are celebrated. Such experiences are privileged moments. Unity becomes a living reality. And we realize that it is a gift, perhaps the greatest of all gifts, one which we in fact desire deeply and which gives us an unsurpassed joy.

In his letter to the Philippians, Saint Paul, writing from prison and evidently in danger for his life, speaks at length about both unity and joy. He also speaks openly about the affection he has for the Philippians and their concern for him. Their relationship goes back to the beginnings of his travels in the region. They had welcomed him and the Gospel he preached, and then had continued to support and encourage him through all that followed. The tone of the letter is one of familiarity and confidence, as among people who have learned to share their lives and appreciate one another. We sense how the Gospel has turned strangers into friends, we might even say into family.

Paul, however, is worried by news he has received about conflicts within the young community (1:27; 2:14; 4:2). He responds by inviting them to take even closer to heart the gift they have already received. His words seem carefully chosen, no doubt to make a lasting impression on his readers. He then evokes by contrast some of the root causes of division and finally returns to the image of having a “same mind”. Only now, this mind is not theirs but Christ’s. Know that there are powerful things at work in all our lives which can destroy the gift of unity, he seems to be saying. But allow yourselves to be carried forward by what is greater still, by the life of Jesus himself. For by “the mind of Christ”, Paul is not thinking mainly of Jesus’ thoughts in the past, but of the dynamism of his risen presence.

- Have we ever seen how the Gospel can turn strangers into friends, and even into family?

- What root causes of division is it good that I be aware of? In what way does the gift of Christ “carry me forward”?

Other bible meditations:

Last updated: 1 June 2024