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Thursday, November 14, 2002

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Philemon 7-20
Psalm 146
Luke 17:20-25

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a world of brotherhood?

"Perhaps he was separated from you for a while for this reason: that you might possess him forever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother." —Philemon 15-16

In prison, Paul converted a runaway slave, Onesimus (Phlm 10). This made Onesimus a son of God, Paul's brother in Christ, in addition to the Christian brother of Philemon, Onesimus' owner, who was also a Christian.

When we realize that others are our brothers and sisters in Christ, this should dramatically impact our relationships with them. For example, Christian brotherhood and sisterhood eventually undermined the deeply ingrained social institution of slavery. For how could we enslave our brothers and sisters in Christ? Christian brotherhood could have prevented the World Wars. For how could German brothers kill their Russian, French, or Polish brothers in Christ? How could we drop an atom bomb on our brethren in Nagasaki? If we saw other Christians as our Christian brothers and sisters, we would not tolerate centuries of denominationalism in explicit contradiction to God's will (see Jn 17:21; Jn 11:51-52). How could brothers and sisters in Christ live in luxury while our "brethren" are starving to death?

The realization of our baptismal brotherhood and sisterhood is meant to transform our world, social institutions, lifestyle, economy, and Church. Finally, because of the exceptional importance of Christian brotherhood and sisterhood, we will be judged on Judgment Day on our practical love for the brethren, our Christian brothers and sisters (Mt 25:40).

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit so that I will have a new Pentecost of Christian community (see Acts 2:42).

Promise:  "The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other." —Lk 17:24

Praise:  Glenn and Clair, newly married, began their marriage by giving back to the Lord what they had received (see Mt 10:8) by deciding to teach new converts in the RCIA program.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard L. Klug, April 10, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 18, 2002