Father Gary Caster"Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so
that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news
of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind
struggling together for the faith of the gospel, not intimidated in
any way by your opponents."
Philippians 1: 27-28Saint Paul's words to the Philippians remind me of something my parents used to say to me and my brothers and sisters whenever we were going to be away from home or our on our own: "Behave yourselves." This was their simple way of reminding us to be the persons they raised us to be, and not to be "intimidated by whatever conflicting influences we might encounter. Unfortunately, there were times I failed to do so. It was then they would point out how my behavior didn't faithfully reflect the way I had been raised. Saint Paul uses similar words to encourage his spiritual children. He wants them to remember that in all ways and at all times they are members of the Christian family. Their conduct should therefore reflect "the way of the Gospel" in which they have been raised. as sons and daughters of God, their actions should depend--not on whether Paul is with them--but solely on the truth of who they are in Christ. Standing firm in this is a positive safe-guard against difficult situation and opposing voices. Saint Paul know they don't have to be told how to behave; they simply need to be reminded who they are. As Christians, our conduct, should flow naturally from the one spirit that binds us together as a family. The way of the Gospel requires a unity that goes beyond personal preferences, social bonds, or individual comfort levels. as one that draws us together in good times and in bad, In sickness and in health, in riches and in poverty. Only as a family united in mutual and loving concern, only as a family--one in mind and heart--can we live in peace undisturbed by those who fear, reject or are opposed to the way of the Gospel.Heavenly Father, through the power of your spirit, let me alway live according to the truth of who I have become in Christ, never forgetting who I am, standing firm before the world ever confident in your love.
So I am encouraged, in many ways, to thank my family for the love, support, encouragement and loyalty. I can say I have never doubted their love. Then I thank my family in Christ through which this very same love, support, encouragement and loyalty has been shown to me. Through these loving people I have been guided in a mutual love of God and would be lost without them.
Finally, I say heartfelt and sincere,
"Thanks be to God!"