Second Reading: Philippians 1:4-6, 8

A Letter From a Mentor

Popular Translation

3 When I remember all of you, I thank God! 4 Every time I pray for you, it is a prayer of pure joy. 5 After all, we are partners in spreading the Good News from the every first day you heard it from me until now. 6 I am absolutely sure God will finish the work he began among you on the day Jesus Christ returns.

7 It’s right for me to think this about you because I hold you in my heart. All of you are my partners in God’s life. This is true whether I am in jail (like I am now) or whether we defend and confirm the Gospel together. 8 God knows I right when I want to be close to all of you, even when I suffer like Jesus did.

Literal Translation

3 I give thanks to my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every request (to God) of mine on behalf of all of you, making the request with joy, 5 in partnership with you in the Gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident (in) myself concerning this (fact), that the (One) having begun the good work (of salvation) among you will thoroughly finish it on the day of Jesus Christ. 7 Just as it is proper for me to think this about you because (I) hold you to me in (my) heart, all of you being my co-partners in grace, both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel. 8 For God is my witness that I yearn for all of you in the sufferings of Christ.

1:3-6 This is one continuous sentence. 1:3 is the main clause with the verb “giving thanks” (“eucharisteo” in Greek) and the adverbial phrase “remembrance” (“mneia” in Greek) in prayer. 1:4-5 (prayerful requests and partnership) is an adverbial clause the modifies “giving thanks” as a way to explain “in remembrance of you.” 1:6 is a adjective participle modifies the subject in 1:3 “I.” If 1:6 was placed before 1:3, the sentence would make more sense:

6 Because I am confident that God began the good work of salvation among you and will bring it to a conclusion in the day of Jesus Christ, 3 I give thanks to God every time I remember you, 4 when I joyfully ask God in every prayer on your behalf, 5 since we are partners with you in the Gospel from the first day until now.

The blessing from Paul’s letter to the Philippians was a poignant display of affection. While Paul was in prison (at Ephesus in 55 A.D.?), he wrote to a community he established and nurtured (see Acts 16:11-12). His language was remarkable. The relationship he had with the community at Philippi was based on a sense of shared mission. Paul called the community “co-partners” in spreading the Gospel [1:5] both in God’s grace and in suffering [1:7]. (Many scholars hold this “partnership” was based upon the continued generosity of the Philippians to Paul.) When Paul remembered the community (especially in prayer), it was a joy-filled memory. And he yearned to rejoin them at the earliest moment, only if he could.

We all have mentors. Paul was the mentor to the communities he established. We have all had mentors in faith. Do we appreciate those who nurtured our relationship with God? Do we act as mentors to others?

Reflect on those who have been your mentors. Who have you helped? Use this time to pray to God in thanks for those who have served you and those you serve.