September 5, 2010: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus, appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart … Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for awhile, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother … So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. (Philemon 1, 10, 15-17)
St. Paul’s letter to Philemon is the shortest of all writings in the Bible.
Philemon, a Christian, had a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus ran away, connected with Paul and became a believer in Jesus. A run-away slave could be punished with death. Paul appeals to Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a brother. This beautiful letter makes us aware that we are brothers and sisters through our baptism in Christ Jesus. Every person is our sister or brother because we all belong to the family of God.
Read the very short Letter to Philemon.
Remember, we are all equal in the eyes of God. This should make you think seriously about how you treat others. Do you treat them as children of God and as members of your family?