Wednesday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Philippians 2:19-30 (NKJV)
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.
24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly. 25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
Epaphroditus had been sent by the community in Philippi to serve St. Paul. He visited Paul, ministered to him, did all that was needful. Paul gives two reasons for regarding him with such high respect: First, “he came close to death” on Paul’s account. Second, he did this as a representative of the whole city of Philippi, so that in this danger the reward is reckoned to those who sent him, as though the whole city had sent him as an ambassador. So to receive him with kindness and to welcome him on account of what has happened is their way of sharing in his bold work of sharing the Gospel.
Epaphroditus serves as an example to us (just as St. Timothy does). He does what is best for the Church and for her minister, St. Paul, so that the Gospel might be furthered. He does not consider himself or his station in life, but readily puts his life in danger for the benefit of the Gospel. How great it would be if we learned to show this same courage in the face of persecution, in the face of those who would seek to destroy the Church and her Gospel!
May Almighty God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost strengthen us with faith so that we might boldly live as Christians in this evil world, and boldly promote the Church and her Gospel, even in the midst of persecution and threat of loss of life. Amen.