Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, bishops

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

The Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus follows on 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 and stayed with him in Corinth. Later Paul places Timothy’s name with his own as the authors of the Second Letter to the Corinthians. This same 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 First 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 significant than their personal stories is what the references to the two men in the New Testament reveal about Paul. They indicate that he was hardly a one-person show. Indeed, it seems that in part his ability to collaborate made his evangelizing efforts successful. He also felt great affection for his associates and was magnanimous enough to mention them as contributors to his writing.

It may seem self-evident that ultimately there are no Christians without a church community, but some do speak and act as if they have both personal and private relationships with the Lord. Yet 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 so today.