Timothy and Titus

Timothy and Titus were companions of St.Paul on his missionary journeys and they continued his mission. Timothy was given leadership of the church at Ephesus; Titus assumed leadership of the church in Crete. We have Paul’s letters to them: one letter to Titus and two letters to Timothy, most likely written from house arrest in Rome.

Like Jesus, Paul never saw himself acting alone or handing on a church that was completely developed. It was a church in transition. That’s why we celebrate the feast of Timothy and Titus on January 26th, the day after the feast of Paul’s conversion. He saw others continuing his work.

The church given into the care of Timothy and Titus would enter a new stage in its growth. Paul and the other apostles were completing their work; now roles of bishops, priests and other ministries began to evolve. The notes in the New American Bible–always worth reading–point to the changing nature of these offices as Timothy and Titus take on the work of Paul, in prison in Rome.

Paul’s advice to Timothy is especially interesting. “Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.”

Sounds like Paul is trying to bolster Timothy’s confidence, who is losing his powerful mentor. I also like Paul’s reference in that same letter to Timothy’s mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Powerful mentors Timothy also should remember.

Timothy and Titus were given “apostolic virtues” by God to continue the work of Paul and the other apostles, the opening prayer of their feast says. And “May we merit to reach our heavenly homeland” by “living justly and devoutly in this present age.” Like them “we” also are given a task –to work for the church’s growth and development in this present age.

We have to remember our mentors and remember too that God “ does not give a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self control.” Like the two followers of Paul, we have to hold on to what we were given, but it’s our turn to continue their work: “Go into all the world, and proclaim the gospel. I am with you always, says the Lord.”

I see in the notes of American Bible that the deacons Paul refers to in I Timothy 3, 8-13 may include women as well as men. “This (deacons) seems to refer to women deacons, but may possibly mean the wives of deacons. The former is preferred because the word is used absolutely…”

Why not today? We need women in roles of leadership. I have some in mind who would fit the role very well. I wonder what my mother would say.

3 thoughts on “Timothy and Titus

  1. mystagogyfortheanawim

    There was something I read in the writings of the Desert Fathers, that touched my heart. The monk said, if you find yourself becoming too regarded, (too popular in my words), discredit yourself and move away. Perhaps that is why our saints now come in the ordinary of little ways because they point to the Heart of Jesus and Mary.

    What once was called a monk, may now be a homemaker living in the desert of Brooklyn… and it is the people in the grocery store who listen to her with the ear of the heart and pray the Amen.

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  2. Gloria

    Thank you, Fr. Victor. Hope you don’t mind my quoting the entire footnote.
    Its words are very encouraging..
    My most current version of the NABRE, The Catholic Youth Bible, approved in 2010 by the USCCB, footnote on 1Tm 3:3-11– “Women: this seems to refer to women deacons but may possibly mean wives of deacons. The former is preferred because the word is used absolutely: if deacons’ wives were meant, a possessive ‘their’ would be expected. Moreover, they are also introduced by the word ‘similarly,’ as in v. 8; this parallel suggests that they, too, exercised ecclesiastical functions.” There is also a highlighted inset at the beginning of 1 Tm 3, explaining for young people,women and cultural roles in the ancient world, ending with examples of women’s leadership roles in contemporary Christianity and society, including the quote, “Today, if you ask people to name influential Church leaders, Mother Teresa almost always comes up.” Wy not today, indeed? I also have some
    in mind.

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