Receive him, no longer as a slave, but as a beloved brother.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to Philemon (Philemon 1: 7-20)
Beloved: I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you — I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus — I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but new he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will. Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand, I will repay it — to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 146:6c-7.8-9a.9bc-10 (R. 5a)
R/. Blessed is he who is helped by Jacob’s God.
It is the Lord who preserves fidelity forever,
who does justice to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord who sets prisoners free. R.
It is the Lord who opens the eyes of the blind,
the Lord who raises up those who are bowed down.
It is the Lord who loves the just,
the Lord who protects the stranger. R.
The Lord upholds the orphan and the widow,
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever,
the God of Sion from age to age. R.
ALLELUIA John 15:5
Alleluia. I am the vine, you are the branches says the Lord. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit. Alleluia.
“The kingdom of God is in your midst.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 17:20-25)
At that time: Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, Jesus answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Behold, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Behold, there!’ or ‘B hold, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The gospel passage of today is very pertinent to our contemporary time. Many preachers predict the end times to scare people to repentance. But Jesus cautioned his disciples against following such preachers. He made it clear that with the event of his coming, the kingdom of God is in our midst, in our hearts. Yet people did not understand and accept him.
The Christians are those who have the capacity to forgive hurts and extend a hand of friendship to those who offend them. This is what we see in the first reading where St Paul appeals for Onesimus, the runaway slave. Christians should follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ in his forgiving love for the sinner.