MEMORIAL OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT, POPE AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

November 10, 2018

Philippians 4:10-19 

 

I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.

You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Psalm 112: 1-2, 5-6, 8-9

 

Happy are those who fear the Lord,
    who greatly delight in his commandments.
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.

It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
    they will be remembered forever.

Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn is exalted in honor.

 

 

Luke 16:9-15 

 

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

 

(NRSVCE)

 

Meditation

 

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me," has become one of the most popular motivational phrases among Christians. An encouraging line to cling to before going in to take a test, an interview, or getting through a rough time, the connotation of the phrase has become one of triumph, victory, and achievement. In the context of the line in scripture, though, the meaning of the phrase has little to do with actually accomplishing anything. When St. Paul writes to the Philippians, he writes to them about being content with what you have, be it riches or poverty, and bearing with and finding peace inside one's circumstances. 

 

The scriptures today speak to us about surrender in this life and total reliance on God. St. Paul writes that he is content whether he is well-fed or hungry. In the gospel, Jesus teaches that a person cannot serve both God and money, or the world. They are a call to let go of attachment to the world even to the point of having one's own basic needs met or not. 

 

A relationship with God is not a bartering system where we promise our fidelity on the terms that He will give us a good life or take care of us. A relationship with a person is one that stays together through times of prosperity and times of poverty. Accepting Jesus does not mean one's life will be perfect or you will have everything you ever wanted. It means that you have hope in all things. No matter what is going on in your life, you are content because you have Jesus and He is your final destination. You do not need to be caught up with or concerned with money or the things of this world, but can rely fully on Jesus for everything. 

 

Today, examine your heart and mind. Are there things that are more important to you than your relationship with Jesus? If everything you had was taken away, could you still find peace and contentment with Christ? Whatever it may be, bring it to Jesus today and ask for the grace to be completely surrendered to Him. 

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