You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.
As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
A former student of mine once passed on a quote that I’ve seen several times since: “Be careful how you live; your life may be the only Bible some people ever read.” She was echoing a point that Paul makes today when he writes that he shares not only the Gospel of God, “but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” My student and Paul both understood that it’s not easy to separate the message from the messenger.
The “own self” I have to share with those who become dear to me is a self that has been deeply loved by God. And sharing that self is a chance to share a Gospel that isn’t just an idea, but something alive in me. What is the self that I hope to share with others? What is the sacred story of my life that I would tell to share the Good News?
—Fr. Matt Spotts, SJ, is a recently ordained priest of the Midwest Jesuits serving as an associate pastor at Ss. Joseph-St. Francis Xavier parish in Wilmette, IL as well as doing pastoral ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.
Lord Jesus, you came among us as one of us. You gave yourself to us and give yourself to each one of us. Help us to share what we have been given, to tell our sacred story with hope and joy.
—Fr. Matt Spotts, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!