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 | 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45; (Jonah 3:10-4:11; Psalm 145:1-8;) Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16
Would Christians happily forsake Assisi or Canterbury or Cologne? Mosul's story is at least equal to that of any of these later upstarts.
Sometimes I wish the Gospels told a story in which Jesus slumps in the shade of a tree and can't make himself face another crowd or meet one more plea for help.