Paul writes to Philemon asking Philemon to receive his slave, Onesimus, back, even if Onesimus stole from him. This puts Philemon in a difficult situation because for one, Philemon may have owned many slaves. Accepting someone who ran away and stole money from him will cause him to look weak before the eyes of his slaves. We do not know what happened, but the Letter of Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians mentions their Bishop as Onesimus. If he is the same person, then we see how God works in transforming a thief to Bishop. This is what God can do and when we accept the grace of God, we will also be transformed, slowly, as Jesus said in the Gospel today: the kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed … for in fact, the kingdom of God is among you. Many have misinterpreted this as meaning that we need to seek God in our hearts by going into ourselves, as if we can know God through our efforts.
But God will come in our lives when we call on him. When he comes, it will be clear it is he and it will be clear he is the One moving in our lives. Jesus said: 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. God does not speak in chaos because God is a God of order. We do not need to seek God in special places. God will come when we open our hearts to himself. We can know God through reason, but he fully reveals himself through grace and it is this intimate knowledge of God that transforms us.
St Josaphat was an Eastern Orthodox in the 16th century before he converted to be an Eastern Catholic. He was made Bishop where he worked to reconcile the Eastern Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church. This caused several people in the Eastern Orthodox Church to kill him. His death caused the members of the Orthodox church, including their Archbishop in his Diocese to reconcile with Rome.
The sad thing today is there are still many who are angry at the Catholic Church for misconceptions about her. We pray God will transform hearts so there will be reconciliation and unity in the Truth.
Lord, I pray for union within your Church. We all belong to you. Let us come together in unity and Truth so we can give glory to your name. St Josaphat, pray fro the unity of Christians, that we may be one just as Jesus and his Father are one.