Homilette for Monday, January 26, 2009

Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, bishops

(II Timothy 1:1-8; Mark 3:22-30)

The Memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus follows at the heel of the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul because the two men assisted Paul in his missionary efforts. Timothy accompanied Paul on part of his so-called second missionary journey. During that mission he stayed with Paul in Corinth, and later Paul puts his name with his own as the authors of the Second Letter to the Corinthians. This letter speaks of Titus as Paul’s emissary who brought a lost letter to the Corinthians after they evidently reacted to Paul’s scolding in the First Letter to the Corinthians. In Second Corinthians Paul calls Titus, “my partner and co-worker with you.”

A few facts about Timothy and Titus can be gleaned from the New Testament. Timothy was the son of a Greek father and Jewish mother. Paul permitted him to be circumcised because of his Jewish heritage. On the other hand, Paul insisted that Titus not be circumcised because he was of completely Gentile origins. More important than revealing their personal stories, the presence of the two men in the Scripture tell us about Paul. The apostle to the Gentiles was hardly a one-person show. It was in part his ability to collaborate that made his evangelizing efforts so successful. He also felt great affection for his associates and was honest enough to publicize their contributions to his work.

It may seem self-evident that there are no Christians without a church community, but some do speak and act as if they have private tête-à-têtes with Christ. There is always need for other people to pray with, to support our faith, and to assist our apostolic efforts. This was true of the archetypal missionary, Paul of Tarsus, and it remains the case today.