Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
Though the Lectionary for Mass separates them into two readings, the concluding verse of today's reading from the Letter to the Philippians and the first verse of tomorrow's reading are favorites of mine. However, because of tomorrow's feast, we will miss the second part. So I quote the two verses together here:
Whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7-8)
Much of our human life, consuming much of our time and our efforts, is spent trying to amass the things and resources we need to support ourselves and our families. This is necessary and good in and of itself. St. Paul is a good example of someone who spent a great part of his life doing just that.
At the same time, St. Paul came to the realization late in life that much of what he valued was "rubbish" when compared to the blessing he had in his knowledge of Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus as his Savior, understanding the depths and lengths to which Jesus went to demonstrate God's love for us, was far more important than anything else in his life. These verses have always stood before me as motivation for "learning" more about Jesus. By this, I do not mean the academic efforts that I have expended in pursuing knowledge of theology, etc. As I am fond of telling my students in Bible Study, even if we know all that there is to know about the Scriptures, if we fail to allow the Scriptures to move us to repentance and conversion of life, all the knowledge is in vain. Learning about Jesus must lead us to God. The only road to God is through repentance and conversion. All other pursuits are, in the words of St. Paul, so much rubbish.