Today’s Reading: Phil 4
There are two great little nuggets in today’s reading.
First, there is apparently a dispute between two women and Paul encourages everyone to help them work it out. In passing, he mentions someone important:
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Who is the Clement? Well, we know that he is counted among “the rest of [Paul’s] fellow workers”. So he is a Christian, a religious person, working to spreads the Gospel. He also will take on another starring role, traditionally this Clement is thought to be POPE Clement, the fourth Pope. The next time someone asks you, “Where is the pope in the bible?”, take them here.
He will go on to write the Letter of Clement. The Letter of Clement is interesting for many reasons. It probably is the one book that came the closest to making it into the Bible but ultimately didn’t make the cut because even though Clement knew the Apostles, he himself was not an Apostle. Also, the Letter of Clement was written to address a dispute in Corinth. This is significant because Clement has authority to address this dispute despite the fact that John the Apostle was still alive at the time. Thus, it is a historical indication that the authority of the Papacy had been established from the outset and was passed on to a successor who was not a direct apostle.
Second, Paul again evokes TRADITION as a legitimate conveyer of Christian truth:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have LEARNED and RECEIVED and HEARD and SEEN IN ME —practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
There is no doubt that the early Church looked to the Old Testament as scripture. There is no doubt, as Paul himself said, that the letters of Paul were circulated and read in the early Churches. There is no doubt (and we have historical evidence to confirm) that the Gospels once penned were circulated and read in the early Church. However, there should also be no doubt that many things were taught by doing. Things like how to baptize, how to worship, how to perform the Eucharist and others were done by repeating what they had heard, saw and were taught from the Apostles. Paul endorses and advocates this and instructs the faithful to keep repeating them.