Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(Philippians 2:1-4; Luke 14:12-14)
Most of us find ourselves competing with others. We resent when a peer receives attention, and we are ignored. We become envious when he is promoted and we are left behind. We begin to calculate in our minds how we are as good, maybe better than the one others admire. In today’s first reading Paul beseeches the Philippians not to engage in such unproductive thoughts.
Paul has a special affection for the Philippians. According to Acts, it is the first community he evangelized after crossing over from Asia to Europe. In this letter he will share with them personal ambitions and intimate thoughts. At its beginning, however, he exhorts unity within the community. They are to do nothing out of selfishness but to judge everyone as better than themselves.
It seems that a distorted sense of self-worth often causes our mentally competing with others. We need to recognize that our basic dignity comes from being created in God’s image and knowing Jesus Christ. More than anything we can do, this gives us importance. How others judge us in the end makes little difference. As God’s servant and Jesus’ friend, we should strive to serve one another, not to better them.