FEAST DAY – SAINTS TIMOTHY AND TITUS – JANUARY 26, 2023

Saints Timothy and Titus​
Died circa 95 AD, what we know from the New Testament of Timothy’s life makes it sound like that of a modern harried bishop. He had the honor of being a fellow apostle with Paul, both sharing the privilege of preaching the gospel and suffering for it. Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother named Eunice. Being the product of a “mixed” marriage, he was considered illegitimate by the Jews. It was his grandmother, Lois, who first became Christian. Timothy was a convert of Paul around the year 47 and later joined him in his apostolic work. Timothy was with Paul in Rome during the latter’s house arrest. At some period Timothy himself was in prison (Hebrews 13:23). Paul installed him as his representative at the Church of Ephesus. Timothy was comparatively young for the work he was doing. Several references seem to indicate that he was timid. And one of Paul’s most frequently quoted lines was addressed to him: “Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1Timothy 5:23). Titus has the distinction of being a close friend and disciple of Paul as well as a fellow missionary. He was Greek, apparently from Antioch. Even though Titus was a Gentile, Paul would not let him be forced to undergo circumcision at Jerusalem. Titus is seen as a peacemaker, administrator, great friend. When Paul was having trouble with the community at Corinth, Titus was the bearer of Paul’s severe letter and was successful in smoothing things out.

REFLECTION FOR THE DAY

“Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:32-35

That Jesus hears that his mother is outside asking to speak to him and responds this way shocks me. I imagine: How that must have hurt her! Yet I need to stop hearing this as a rejection and open myself to the incredible inclusion. We—all of us—are loved as family by God and take our place in that family circle by doing God’s will, responding to that Love with love…for each other, for ourselves, for God. Mary, more than anyone who ever lived, “did the will of God.” Dear Mother Mary, help us understand that we are right with you at that family table when we love. Help us see special ways to love today.

FEAST DAY – CONVERSION ST PAUL – JANUARY 25, 2023

The great apostle was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin.  He surpassed all his peers in zeal for the Jewish law and their traditions, which he thought to be the cause of God, became one of the most fierce enemies and persecutors of Christians. He was one of the conspirators in the martyrdom of St. Stephan.

After the martyrdom of the holy deacon, the priests and magistrates of the Jews raised a violent persecution against the church at Jerusalem, in which Saul placed himself above the others.

In the fury of his zeal, he appealed to the high priest and Sanhedrim for a commission to take up all Jews at Damascus who confessed Jesus Christ, and bring them bound to Jerusalem, that they might serve as public examples to incite terror into others.

But God was pleased to show forth in Saul his patience and mercy: Saul was almost at the end of his journey to Damascus, when, around noon, he and his company were surrounded by a great light from heaven and, fell to the ground. Then Saul heard a voice, which to him was articulate and distinct, but not understood by the rest :”Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? Christ said not: Why dost thou persecute my disciples, but me: for it is he, their head, who is chiefly persecuted in his servants.” Saul answered: “Who art thou, Lord?” Christ said: “Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecute. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad: – to contend with one so much mightier than thyself.”

There was a Christian of distinction in Damascus, Ananius, greatly respected by the Jews for his irreproachable life and great virtue. Christ appeared to this holy disciple, and commanded him to go to Saul, who was at that moment in the house of Judas at prayer. Ananias trembled at the name of Saul, being familiar with the misdeeds he had done in Jerusalem and the errand for which he set out to Damascus. But our Redeemer overruled his fears, and charged him a second time to go, saying: “Go, for he is a vessel of election to carry my name before Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: and I will show him how much he has to suffer for my name. For tribulation is the test and portion of all the true servants of Christ.”

Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an apostle, and chosen to be one of the principal instruments of God in the conversion of the world.

St. Paul never recalled his wonderful conversion, from which have poured forth may blessings, without raptures of gratitude and praise to the Divine and His mercy. The Church, in thanksgiving to God for such a miracle of his grace, to commemorate so miraculous an instance of his almighty power and to propose to penitents a perfect model of a true conversion, has instituted this feast, which we find mentioned in several calendars and missals of the eighth and ninth centuries, and which Pope Innocent III commanded to be observed with great solemnity.

REFLECTION FOR THE DAY

He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. Mark 16:15

If anyone went out into the “whole world,” it was St. Paul. Today we celebrate the conversion of the apostle Paul, probably the Church’s most ardent evangelist. He came to this vocation from an unlikely place. Known earlier as Saul of Tarsus, Paul was an aggressive persecutor of the fledging Christian movement. After a divine encounter on the road to Damascus, he made an amazing transformation to become one of the most articulate leaders of the early Church. The spectacular growth of Christianity among the Gentiles of that time was due in large part to Paul’s efforts. Despite considerable obstacles, his travels, writings and tireless work spread the faith. From terrible sinner to saint, from persecutor to persuasive preacher, Paul gives us all hope: no matter what kind of life we have lived, we can change. Indeed, we can be welcomed back into the fold.