Being a disciple–follower of Jesus–isn’t easy in this world. It can also be a bit confusing when we hear what Jesus has to say to the Christian in today’s Gospel reading. There is a cost to following Jesus. The cost is that the Christian is broken away from the world. Jesus did the breaking in His death and resurrection. Jesus did the breaking for each of you in your Baptisms. Now the life of Christian existence in this world takes place. And like it was for Jesus, it’s not always easy for you, His disciple.
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A little note on Philemon as it relates to today’s theme; Philemon was a Christian who had a non-Christian slave named Onesimus. Onesimus ran away and found Paul. One thing Onesimus understood is that Philemon and Paul had a unique relationship with one another that was different from what he observed in other people. He fled to Paul, and during his time with Onesimus, God worked His power and promise. Onesimus became a Christ follower! Now, he had to go back and face Philemon. However, now these two were Christian Brothers because of Jesus.
Philemon had every right according to the legal system to punish Onesimus, and Paul for that matter for harboring Onesimus. Paul appeals to Philemon to go against the grain and live out a life of mercy and forgiveness toward Onesimus. I’m sure that Philemon’s non-Christian friends and associates thought he was nuts, and ridiculed him because of this.
I love you guys! Dad