Monday, January 25, 2016

Saints Titus and Timothy: Enthusiastic Evangelizers for the Lord

Today, January 26, is the memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus. Both men were close colleagues with St. Paul in his missionary journeys and perpetuated his work among the Gentiles.

Timothy and Titus were converted to Christianity by Paul, and became his companions and helpers. Paul made both men bishops and assigned Timothy to the Church in Ephesus, and Titus to the Church in Crete. He wrote them “pastoral” epistles, giving advice for both pastors and parishioners.

Timothy, “brother and co-worker for God in the gospel of Christ” (1 Thes 3:2) was young (Paul writes “Let no one have contempt for your youth” in 1 Timothy 4:12a), and somewhat shy, but had great zeal for spreading the faith. He has been viewed by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus" (Rev 2:1-17). He joined Paul in the joy of the privilege of preaching the gospel, but also  suffered much because of it. St. Timothy was stoned to death thirty years after St. Paul's martyrdom for refusing to worship the goddess Diana.

Titus, Paul’s “partner and co-worker” (2Cor 8:23) was the mediator or peacemaker, the one St. Paul sent to clear up misunderstandings, settle differences, and to establish a new Church. He was sent to evangelize the inhabitants of Crete, who were known to be “liars, vicious beasts, and lazy gluttons” (Timothy 1:12). He received a letter from St. Paul, which encouraged Christians to live temperate, moral, and virtuous lives, while awaiting the coming of Christ. Tradition tells us that St. Titus died a natural death at the age of 94, having lived in the state of virginity his entire life.

St. Timothy is the patron saint of intestinal disorders and stomach diseases. St. Titus is the patron of Crete.

Collect: God our Father, you gave your saints Timothy and Titus the courage and wisdom of the apostles: may their prayers help us to live holy lives and lead us to heaven, our true home. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. This saying is trustworthy” ~Titus 3:4-8

The lives of Sts Timothy and Titus reveal that evangelization is a task that requires courage, patience, perseverance, and zeal. There is both joy and suffering involved in spreading the gospel message. Today, let us pray to the Holy Spirit asking for the grace to fulfill our Christian mission of sharing the "Good News" with others in imitation of Sts. Timothy and Titus.

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann January 2016.

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