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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Concluding Remarks

The letter to Philemon raises interesting challenges for its original recipients and for us. Apparently Onesimus himself is bearer of this letter from Paul to his master. The letter is to be read at the liturgy when the Christian community will help Philemon reintegrate Onesimus back into his household as a fellow Christian. The very fact that the community preserved this letter—and that it comes down to us included in the canon of the New Testament—testifies to the spirit of openness, humility, and generosity of Philemon and his congregation that must have successfully resolved this matter. Today the church as a whole and local churches are faced with perplexing social problems, especially with regard to social expectations and their clash with faith values. We can take hope that what was written long ago was written for our instruction. We can well afford to contemplate the role of such a pastoral letter and of the community's reflection on its contents.

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Oxford University Press

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