Monday with St. Paul: Christ’s Redemption as Loving Communication

Philippians 2

Yesterday’s liturgy and readings were so rich that you may not have noticed the astonishing reading from Philippians 2:6-11, which links together the mind-numbing humility of Christ in the Incarnation and Redemption. Often, this passage is commented on from the perspective of Christ as a Model of love and service. Selfishness is being filled with ourselves; selflessness is letting go of our preoccupation with ourselves and being filled with care for others.

Crucifix in Our Pauline Chapel in Toronto
"He emptied himself..."

For me, this is one of the key passages in Scripture that highlight how Christ is the Perfect Communicator (Comunio et Progressio, #8). Communication is one of the most important aspects of serving, although it isn’t often thought of in that light. For communication to be genuine and resonant with its deepest purpose (communion), communication must be rooted in love.

Kenosis–the astounding reality of Christ’s life
among us is highlighted in Philippians 2. God doesn’t just write us a letter, shout to us from afar, or even bend down to talk with us (although any of those would be amazing). Instead, in his desire to save us, God becomes one with us–taking on the limitations of our human nature. Jesus took on our human nature and then underwent his passion and death to save us from sin and from ourselves, and to communicate God’s own life to us.

The Canticle in Philippians talks about Jesus “emptying himself”. This self-emptying, or kenosis (our English adaptation of the Greek word) is what the best communication is all about. True communication is emptying ourselves, making space for others and for a genuine, loving response to them.

Jesus shows us the height of true communication
This Holy Week, I want to spend each day on my knees in adoration as I re-live the last days of Jesus as the Master Communicator. In his passion and death, even in excruciating pain, Jesus shows us the heights that true communication can reach. The nonviolence, the silence, the offering of himself, his union with the Father’s will, the forgiveness, the loving solidarity with the oppressed, every one of his seven last words on the cross–each of these is a profound communication of God’s love, and a model of how I am called to communicate.


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