The first reading and the Gospel both seem to have been directed at the Jews. They were indeed God’s chosen people. But although that was something of which they could be justly proud; they had to realize that high honors are necessarily accompanied by high responsibilities; and in not accepting the Messiah when he came they failed in their prime duty, and lost their right to think of themselves as God's chosen ones.
The Second Reading is directed at people like us. Specifically, it was directed at people in Philippi who like us were having differences with one another. Some unnamed major disagreement had arisen among them, and their differences were presenting them to the world as falling short of being God’s own people. Just as the Jews lost out on being God's Chosen People when they failed to accept his Messiah, so can we no longer be his people if we do not manage to give up our dislikes. As Jesus said, "In this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one an other
When children go bad their parents feel worse about it than they do. So, Paul, the loving parent of the Christians in Philippi, pleads with them to bury the hatchet. He said, “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united on heart, thinking one thing.”
I suppose each of us had has had one disagreement that kept us awake. Years ago a priest I thought of as a friend listed all my faults in a letter to the bishop, and for weeks I kept waking up, pounding my pillow over my hurt feelings. But by praying about it I was brought to see that this friend thought he was doing the right thing in pointing out my faults.
If we want to remain Christians we must come to give our opponents the benefit of the doubt. We must accept the fact that they are doing what seems right to them. The First Century handbook for Christians told us that we should not receive Holy Communion before we have become reconciled in our hearts with those with whom we have differences.