Today, we have a reading from the shortest of the Pauline letters, Philemon. Philemon was a wealthy man who had a slave run away, Onesimus by name. Paul is in Rome under house arrest and the slave makes it to him. Paul converts the man to Christianity. Today we hear 13 of the 25 verses of this personal letter from Paul to Philemon (whom he also converted). Paul asks that Philemon not punish Onesimus because he is now a brother in Christ and is useful to Paul and Philemon (a play on the meaning of the name Onesimus which means “useful.”) “Welcome him as you would me,” Paul writes.
We must remember that we need to be respectful and loving toward all members of the Body of Christ, even those whom we don’t like or has caused us some pain.