The Christ Attitude

In his letter to the Philippians St. Paul encourages us to have the same attitude as Christ, and goes on to describe what that attitude looks like: 

“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)

Think of what that means, and consider whether you would you do it. I want you to imagine the unimaginable: that you are a member of the Holy Trinity, and that you live a life of unimaginable love and peace. You look down at humanity, and you see that they are a real mess. Hatred, lust, and sin abound. You say, “I have to help these people!”

Now I would send a check, and then return to the peace and love of the Trinity. But the Son of God emptied himself of all the wonderful things God is and has, and became a helpless baby. He went from being Almighty to becoming a baby that needed to be fed and changed.

But there is more: he became a helpless baby in a poor family. His dad was a carpenter. He lived in a one horse town called “Nazareth.” For about three years he had a remarkable ministry, but then he was cruelly killed by the power structure in Judea. Then, on Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead in the event we have just celebrated. 

In the story of the Passion we see examples both of people who had the same attitude as Christ, and those who didn’t. One group of people who didn’t was the crowd. The crowd went from loving Jesus on Palm Sunday to crucifying him on Good Friday. Sometimes we are that fickle. We love Jesus when convenient, but when things don’t go our way we desert him.

Another way the crowd showed they didn’t have the attitude of Christ was when, given a choice, they chose Barabbas over Jesus. How often do we make bad choices and choose sin over the Lord?

Simon the Cyrene seems to have made a good choice. Even though he was drafted to help Jesus, it appears that Jesus made an impression on him. Apparently, Simon converted, and brought his family along with him. And so we read in the Gospel of Mark that “Rufus” and “Alexander” were the sons of Simon, and their mention in the Gospel shows that they were known to the Christians of that time.

Simon was changed by his association with Jesus. That should be the goal of all of us. How will you learn to have the same attitude as Christ?

Father Mike Van Cleve

Father Mike is a priest for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.