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Christ's exalted because of humility, Pope tells audience

June 27, 2012

Continuing his series of talks on the prayers of St. Paul, the Pope spoke to his midday audience on the Letter to the Philippians. Observing that it was written near the end of St. Paul’s life, as he was in prison expecting execution, the Pope remarked that the epistle can be regarded as the Apostle’s last testament.

The Letter to the Philippians is marked by a spirit of Joy, the Pope observed. The tone, he said, raises an obvious question: “How can one be joyful in the face of an imminent death sentence?”

The answer, the Holy Father continued, lies in St. Paul’s determination to follow Jesus, conforming his life and his will to Christ. In this epistle, St. Paul includes a hymn of praise to Jesus, who was “in the form of God,” yet took “the form of a slave.” Jesus was crucified, the Pope reminded the crowd in the Paul VI auditorium, and thus “experienced the greatest degree of humiliation, because crucifixion was the punishment reserved for slaves, and not for the free.”

“Human logic often seeks realization in power and domination,” the Pope said. But Jesus sought the opposite: to serve others, and empty Himself out in that service. As the Letter to the Philippians relates, it is for this reason that Christ is now exalted.

“The Jesus who is exalted is the Jesus of the Last Supper who bends to was the feet of the apostles,” the Pope said. “It is important to remember this always during our prayers and our lives.”


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  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Jun. 27, 2012 4:56 PM ET USA

    I just reread Phillipians the other night and it's a beautiful epistle. Nice to see the Holy Father commenting on it.