"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, especially dear to me; and how much more to you, since now you will know him both as a man and in the Lord." —Philemon 15-16
Paul tried to undermine the institution of slavery not by politics or legislation but by winning over individual Christians to the brotherhood and sisterhood of community life. By converting the slave Onesimus, Paul thereby made the slave a brother to the slave-owner Philemon (Phlm 16).
St. Francis used this method in stopping the city-state wars of his time. The Franciscan sense of brotherhood subverted the entrenched European military system. The amazing, non-violent overthrow of the Marcos regime in the Philippines was also an example of brotherhood over violence.
If we only believed we are brothers and sisters in God's family, there would be no soldiers to fight wars or make bombs. We would refuse to perpetrate social injustices against the third world and the poor workers. If we realized we are brothers and sisters, abortion, racism, and apathy would lose their hold on us.
A good legal system can partially hold in check the evils of our society, but permanent change must take place in the hearts of individuals. The Spirit teaches us that we are one body, and "if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy" (1 Cor 12:26).
Prayer: Father, send Your Spirit to raise up peacemakers, Franciscans, prayer-warriors, and conscientious objectors. May Christian unity overshadow nationalism, economic status, social classes, and denominationalism.
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: St. Margaret raised six children and helped to reform the Church in Scotland.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006
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