2 Timothy 1:1-8 or
1 Timothy 1:1-5
On this day our Church invites us to remember St. Timothy and St. Titus, bishops of the early Church. Yesterday, we celebrated St. Paul’s own conversion or call to faith in Jesus Christ. Today, we see the fruits of St. Paul’s Apostolic mission-the encouragement of others to assume the pastoral leadership, thus supporting the faith on a local level. The Pastorals, as these letters are known, provide advise to local leaders-like Timothy and Titus. Many biblical scholars believe that these letters were not written by St. Paul, but rather in Paul’s name by a disciple very close to Paul. This does not diminish their impact as the author penned letters imbued with Pauline theology. A wonderful line in our first reading reminds Timothy to "stir into flame" the gift of God that has been granted by "the imposition of my hands."
How are your embers of faith? Are they in need of a little stirring? How do we do this stirring to ensure a bright and vital flame of faith in the Spirit? A wonderful invitation for this new day-"stir into flame" our faith!
In addition, we are encouraged on this day to reflect on the role of a Bishop at the time of St. Paul, as well as the role of Bishops today. We can see both parallels and new challenges and opportunities. As our responsorial psalm extols, the faith has indeed been proclaimed "to all the nations." To keep our community of faith supported and in communion throughout our worldwide Church (Paul’s dream!), our Bishops today are confronted with a very large and at times daunting job. My own Regional Bishop, Gabino Zavala, has been named the new Chair of the Committee on Communications for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As I pray for my bishop and his work, I cannot help but reflect on the changes in our Church since the time of St. Paul. Today, we can read our Passionists faith reflections through web access on a Blackberry, listen to our local parish priest’s homily Podcast on our computer or iPod, surf the website of our parish or diocese/archdiocese for the latest news, listen to satellite broadcasts of daily or Sunday Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on a Sirus-XM radio, attend a virtual audience with the Pope via internet (www.youtube.com/vatican) or watch Catholic programming through cable or satellite broadcasts on an HDTV. What would Sts. Paul, Timothy or Titus think of all this? I think they would be delighted. Based on today’s first reading, I conjecture that St. Paul’s personal e-mail address might be: [email protected].
Together, let us pray for our Bishops as they engaged in their work for our local and global Church-in the name of Jesus Christ. And, may we each support their efforts to promote the faith and keep the flame alive!
Angela Howell is a retreatant and volunteer at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California.