The Philippians would have read "striving side by side for the faith of the gospel" and thought of the phalanx, infantrymen with shields interlocked. An opponent faced a whole formation.
Season after Pentecost | 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
The preacher faces several challenges in these Ascension texts. How can we present Jesus’ departure from the earth as an occasion for not sorrow but celebration? How to translate the kingship and hierarchical language into imagery that speaks to a world no longer governed by kings and monarchs? Feminist biblical scholars note a third challenge: How can we counter Luke-Acts' use of the Ascension to exert a degree of social control?
Offering the elements to the unbaptized can be seen as a development and not a revolution, but it is a significant change. Is it a good one?
People are surrounded by dehumanizing forces and discouraging lies. Preachers should name these—and replace them with wearable forms of truth.