Thursday, March 11, 2021

Caritas Tua | Your Love

"And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ." - Philemon 1: 6 (NLT)

Photo by Tomer Dahari from Pexels

The Lord Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and accept them.  We often hear this teaching of Jesus, whether it is in a sermon or personal meditation when we read the Scriptures.  We often even use it to advise our brothers and sisters.

However, are we putting this teaching into practice in our lives?  If we see an ex-prostitute walking into the church, would we accept her or would we just keep our distance, activate our suspicious radar, and even watch her? I want to say that honestly, we have a hard time accepting someone who already has a negative stamp.  Even though this person wants to change and has an intention to become a good person, strangely, sometimes we don't want to know about it.

Therefore, I can understand that Philemon could have rejected Onesimus because he was a former prisoner, a useless servant, even a servant who had harmed him.In such a situation, Paul begged Philemon to accept Onesimus back, not only accepting him as a servant, but more than that, accepting him as a beloved brother.

Of course, this is something difficult for Philemon. Just accepting Onesimus as a servant has made him think a thousand times, and now he is being asked to accept him as a beloved brother; this is really something difficult.  However, it is here that the true meaning of love is seen.

Let us ask ourselves.  Can we practice this love in our lives?  Can we accept someone who was labeled badly before  and give our trust back to him or her in a job or ministry?  Can we accept him or her without suspicion, and guide him or her with the love of Christ?

Even though it is not an easy matter, it is love which teaches us to accept our neighbors as they are.  Remember that we are all sinners but because of his love, God saves us and accepts us back as we are.  With his love, God gives us happiness and eternal life.  So let us practice the teaching of love in our lives since we are called the true children of God and the real disciples of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

Reflection on Philemon 1: 1 - 24 by Father Risco Batbual, SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)

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