Epaphras grew up in the ancient city of Colossae (Col 4:12). At some point, he traveled out of town and crossed paths with some Christians, who evangelized him and led him to conversion and life as "a servant of Christ Jesus" (Col 4:12). Epaphras then met St. Paul, who had never visited Colossae (Col 2:1). He and Paul became fellow missionaries and evangelists (Col 1:7).
After his conversion, Epaphras was sent to Colossae as a representative of Paul's missionary team. The people of Colossae had never known Jesus, but they did know Epaphras. Through his voice, they heard the Gospel message of truth (Col 1:5), believed in Jesus, bore the fruit of disciples (Col 1:6), developed a vibrant "love in the Spirit" (Col 1:8), and established a lasting Church.
At some point Epaphras left Colossae and returned to Paul's mission. Nonetheless, Epaphras had a pastor's heart for them. He was "always pleading earnestly in prayer" that they would "stand firm,...be perfect and have full conviction about whatever pertains to God's will" (Col 4:12). He also prayed for the other cities in his home region, interceding solicitously for Laodicea and Hierapolis (Col 4:13). Finally, Paul was imprisoned (Col 4:10) with Epaphras (Phlm 23), but remembered the church at Colossae and wrote them the letter to the Colossians.
Be an Epaphras. Bring Jesus to your hometown.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013.