Timothy and Titus were companions of St.Paul on his missionary journeys and he saw them continuing 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: two letters to Timothy and one letter to Titus.
Like Jesus, Paul never saw himself acting alone; he looked for others to share his ministry and continue it; that’s why we celebrate the feast of Timothy and Titus on January 26th, the day after the feast of Paul’s conversion.
Some mistakingly consider Paul the founder of the Christian faith rather than Jesus. He’s not. Yes, he’s a strong personality, as his letters and missionary journeys make clear, but his faith came from the Risen Christ, who revealed himself to him through the scriptures and heavenly signs.
The church isn’t his or Peter’s church or Apollo’s; it’s the church of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, Paul says.
Serve the church, he urges Timothy and Titus. Be “slaves of Christ,” like him they are “not to be served, but to serve.” ( Philippians 1,1)
Be shepherds to the whole flock in your care, Paul says. The old, the young, men and women, the sick and the well– all belong to the church. Jesus Christ came to love and care for them all. Be like Jesus to them.
Still true for ministers in the church today, isn’t it?
The church given into the care of Timothy and Titus was a church in transition. Paul and the other apostles were ending their work; the roles of bishops, priests and other ministries begin 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, now a prisoner in Rome.
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. May we “merit to reach our heavenly homeland” by “living justly and devoutly in this present age.” Now it’s our turn to continue what they did: “Go into all the world, and proclaim the gospel. I am with you always, says the Lord.”
Like the two followers of Paul, we have to hold on to what we were given by the apostles and bring that gift to our world.
I see in American Bible notes 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.