Epistle of Palm Sunday

Philippians 2:5-11

Brethren, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, tak-ing the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names: (Here all genuflect) that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.


Verse 6. Who being in the form[1] of God, (that is truly, properly, and essentially God from eternity, as the ancient Fathers here observed against the Arians) taking the form of a servant, (i.e. taking upon him our human nature) became truly a man, and as man the servant of God, but remaining always God as before, thought it not robbery, no injury to his eternal Father, to be equal, to be esteemed, and to declare himself equal to God, to be one thing with him: as on divers occasions he taught the people, as we have observed in the notes on S. John’s gospel, &c. Wi.

Verse 7. But debased himself: divested himself of all the marks of greatness, for the love of mankind. The Greek text signifies, he made himself void;[2] on which account Dr. Wells, instead of made himself of no reputation, as in the Prot. translation, has changed it into emptied himself; not but that the true Son of God must always remain truly God, as well as by his incarnation truly man, but that in him as man appeared no marks of his divine power and greatness. — Made to the likeness[3] of men, not only as to an exterior likeness and appearance, but at the same time truly man by uniting his divine person to the nature of man. — In shape[4] (or habit) found as a man: not clothed exteriorly only, as a man is clothed with a garment or coat, but found both as to shape and nature a man; and, as S. Chrys. says, with the appearance of a sinful man, if we consider him persecuted by the Jews, and nailed to an infamous cross. Wi.

Verse 9. God… hath given him a name, &c. The name or word Jesus represents the dignity of him who is signified by the name, and who is exalted even as man, above all creatures in heaven, earth, and hell; all which creatures either piously reverence him, or are made subject to him against their will, that every tongue may confess our Lord Jesus to be now, and to have been always, in the glory of his Father, equal to him in substance and in all perfections. Wi.

Verse 10. If we shew respect when the name of our sovereign is mentioned, may we not express our respect also at the name of Jesus; and if to his name, why not to his cross as well as to the throne of the king?


72: The Incarnation


If anyone says, that in the passion of the cross God felt pain, and not the body with the soul which the Son of God Christ had assumed-the form of a servant, which He had taken upon himself [cf. Phil. 2:7], as says the Scripture-, he does not think rightly.

284: Creed of Faith (especially concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation)


temporal substance of flesh.-Likewise we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of one substance, but we do not say that the Virgin Mary gave birth to the unity of the Trinity, but only to the Son, who alone assumed our nature in the unity of His person. Also, we must believe that the entire Trinity accomplished the Incarnation of the Son of God, because the works of the Trinity are inseparable. However, only the Sontook the form of a servant [cf. Phil. 2:7] in the singleness of His person, not in the unity of His divine nature; in what is proper to the Son, not in what is common to the Trinity; and this form was adapted to Him for unity of person so that the Son of God and the Son of man is one Christ, that is, Christ in these two natures exists in three substances; of the Word, which must refer to the essence of God alone, of the body, and of the soul, which pertain to true man.

313: Christ, the Natural, not the Adopted Son of God

[From the synodical epistle of the bishops of France to the Spaniards]

If, therefore, He is true God, who was born of the Virgin, how then can He be adopted or a servant? For by no means do you dare to confess God a servant or one adopted; and if the prophet called Him servant, it is not, however, from the condition of servitude, but from the obedience of humility, by which He was made obedient to the Father even unto death [Phil. 2:8].

1972: Americanism

From the Letter, "Testem benevolentiae," to Cardinal Gibbons, January 22, 1899

With this opinion about the natural virtues another is closely connected, according to which all Christian virtues are divided into two kinds, as it were, passive as they say, and active; and they add that the former were better suited for times past, that the latter are more in keeping with the present. … Moreover, he who would wish that the Christian virtues be accommodated some to one time and some to another, has not retained the words of the Apostle: “Whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be made conformable to the image of His Son” [Rom. 8:29]. The master and exemplar of all sanctity is Christ, to whose rule all, as many as wish to be admitted to the seats of the blessed, must conform. Surely, Christ by no means changes as the ages go on, but is “yesterday, and today; and the same forever” [Heb. 13:8]. Therefore, to the men of all ages does the following apply: “Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart” [Matt. 11:23]; and at all times Christ shows himself to us “becoming obedient unto death” [Phil. 2:8]; and in every age the judgment of the Apostle holds: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences” [Gal. 5:24].

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