Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.
For this reason, I remind you to 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.
REFLECTION: "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control."
Today we celebrate the Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, two of the most trusted friends of St. Paul-- another one being Mark.
The First and Second Epistles to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus are pastoral letters to these Bishops. They are called this because they are about the work of a pastor and caring of the community under his charge.
These letters talk about the false teachers the converts are meeting, who claim to have "knowledge" or gnōsis (1 Tm 6:21-21). They give advise on how to relate to older members of the community, care for the widows, administrative charitable duties and selection of Bishops and Deacons, etc.
In this second epistle to Timothy, St. Paul sends his regards to Lois and Eunice, Timothy's grandmother and mother, telling us the importance of the example and prayers of our grandmothers and mothers. He reminds him of his Confirmation, when St. Paul imposed his hands on him. He is to be faithful and persevere in the teachings he learned and believed, "because you know from whom you learned it" (2 Tim 3:14). St. Paul is saying goodbye. This is traditionally considered the last epistle he wrote before his death.
St. Timothy might had been a very young man. We read "Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity." (1 Tm 4:12). They met in the region of Lycaonia around the year 51, and there he joined St. Paul in his travels. After a while Timothy was sent to Thessalonica to help the Church during persecutions. Later on they met again in Corinth, where he gave St. Paul the money collected by the Philippian Church for the care of St. Paul. Then Timothy went to Macedonia, back to Corinth, and then again traveled with St. Paul. Like St. Paul we read in Hebrews that he suffered imprisonment during his missionary work (Heb 13:23).
Around the year 64 he became the Bishop of Ephesus. That is when he received the first letter from St. Paul. The second came the following year. Because he took a stand against the worship of idols during a pagan procession he was killed by a mob.
St. Titus was born into a pagan family and is said he studied Greek philosophy and poetry in his youth. He pursued a life of virtue and had a prophetic dream that caused him to begin reading Hebrew Scriptures.
According to tradition he traveled to Jerusalem, and witnessed our Lord preaching. Only after the conversion of Paul, St. Titus was able to receive Baptism from the Apostle. St. Paul called Titus "true child in our common faith." (Ti 1:4).
Titus helps St. Paul as an interpreter and peacemaker. He accompanied St. Paul to the Council of Jerusalem in the year 51. He was sent to Corinth in two occasions because of the problems with the local Church. St. Titus had to bring the stern letter to the Corinthians, and help smooth things out with them.
At the end of St. Paul's imprisonment St. Titus was ordained Bishop of Crete. He had to correct abuses and appoint presbyter-Bishops.
Around the year 64 he received a pastoral letter from St. Paul, where he is instructed to meet him up in the Greek city of Nicopolis. Titus is credited with leading the Church of Crete, overturning paganism and promoting the faith through his prayers and preaching. He lived well into his 90's and died peacefully of old age.
Saints Timothy and Titus, please intercede for our priests and Bishops, so they may always stand for the true teachings of the Church.