Sunday, 5 September 2010

Youth meeting, Sunday, 5 Sep 2010

3 youth - Nikhil, Rephan and Delvin - turned up for the youth meeting. 

We read and commented on the shortest book of the whole Bible - St Paul’s Letter to Philemon. Finding this 'postcard' was the first thing - it is sandwiched between Titus and Hebrews. After reading the letter, we commented a bit on it. Philemon is written by Paul from jail at Ephesus. 

Jail (not prison) was for undertrials, and the one jailed had to even sometimes pay his own rent for the jail (as Paul seems to have certainly done in Rome), and his relatives and friends had to provide him with food, clothing, money, etc. 

This sheds light on the situation of Onesimus, a slave belonging to Philemon. Older exegetes thought that Onesimus was a runaway slave, and that Paul was sending him back to his master, with exhortations to kindness. Now some scholars tend to think that he was actually sent by Philemon to help Paul in jail. In jail, Onesimus was converted to Christ and baptized by Paul; but Paul, not wanting to detain him, was sending him back to his master, with exhortations that he be received no longer as a slave but as a brother in Christ. Paul even adds that he is ready to make up for whatever financial loss Philemon might undergo. 

Great example of Christian authority: though Paul has the authority to command Philemon, he prefers to appeal to his faith and to his love for Christ, for him, Paul, and for Onesimus.

It is possible that this is the same Onesimus mentioned by Paul in Colossians 4:9; and that this Onesimus went on to become bishop in Colossae. 

The rest of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the forthcoming picnic to Sinnar, and the Interparish Football and Throwball Tournament. It was suggested that one of our youth be contacted to organize the Don Bosco team. 

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