â€¦complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.
Last week we considered the question of me, will God welcome me even if I am late in responding? We were reassured in hearing that if we have taken the opportunity to come, whether the first time, as a moment of return, or even for the 23,660th time, God and His people welcome us into the kingdom.
Today, our Holy Church takes time to reflect on the work of the PNU, SpÃ³jnia â€“ and as God provides, we are given to hear Paulâ€™s words about others.
This is the attitude of Christâ€™s Church, His very body on display before the world, that we are of one mind and action in love. Love moves us to encourage each other; to compassion, mercy, and singlemindedness toward others in our work.
SpÃ³jnia was founded in 1908, 112 years ago as the Churchâ€™s love response to the persecution its members faced for their faith. We seem to think that being persecuted for the faith is something that occurred in Caesarâ€™s Rome, or perhaps in this and the last century in Communist or other oppressive regimes. Yet, the reality is that it happened here, in Schenectady, Albany, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Scranton and wherever we gathered to pray. Faith in Christ made us objects of derision and targets for active persecution.
As with the Solemnity of Brotherly Love, the Church did not declare war, did not respond in kind toward its persecutors. Rather, when we were cast out of fraternal organizations, banks, insurance companies; when savings were lost, and tragedies came to the faithful and their families â€“ we built regarding others as more important than ourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.
In our day, this message resonates as perhaps it has not in years. How we live as the family of faith, how we treat others, respond, and build will be the markers by which our adherence to the gospel of Jesus is measured.
Paul goes on to illustrate the great sacrifice of Jesus for others â€“ i.e., all of us. He laid it all down for us, to the point of death, even death on a cross.
As Jesus has done, so must we for others. Therefore, let us set to work in the vineyard, for God will not regard our prior failure to act or respond, but our actual action today.