Today’s passage from the Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians is quite powerful. In many respects it is a recipe for how each of us can have some sense of peace within a world that, too often, seems to be anything but peaceful.
For Paul, to encounter this peace we must have a complete trust in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Paul’s instruction to keep to “whatever is true,… honorable,… just,… pure,… lovely,… [and] gracious” is his exhortation to remain faithful to God who has revealed all of these things to us in the life, death and resurrection of the Christ. Keep in mind that Paul is writing from his house arrest in Rome to the first community of Christian disciples he founded on the continent of Europe. Like Paul himself, the Christian community at Philippi has faced opposition, trials and persecutions because of their be steadfast in their living of the Christian faith.
Doesn’t the same remain true, in many ways, to our times? The persecution may not be as overt and tangible as it was experienced by early Christians in the first three centuries, but we still see Christian principles eroding from the public square and faith barely able to find a first foot-hold in the homes of families. A “watered-down” religious faith will not allow us to know the peace and contentment Paul wants us to know, unless we place complete trust in our Lord, Savior and Redeemer.