2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12
The personality of Paul lunges out of the text at us as we read the words of 2 Timothy in today’s selection. He claims his title as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, made so by the will of God so that he might achieve the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Because he was convinced of his divine vocation and the promise of eternal life which depended on his faithful obedience to God’s call to him, the struggles and sufferings that would mark his apostolic journeys were given meaning, and given a relatively secondary importance.
2 Timothy is set in a jail cell; to Paul is ascribed the certainty that he is soon to die, and thus his wish to be reunited with his co-worker for the Lord, Timothy.
This is the same conviction that any Christian can have when he or she is convinced that Jesus Christ has not only died for his or her salvation, but that He has also called each one of us into a life of grace and mission as members of Christ’s Body, the Church. The struggles and sufferings of life do not go away, but they fall into place as expressions of our mission, to witness to the life of Jesus and to draw all people to a life of grace in the Church of Jesus Christ.
In the gospel of today’s lectionary, Jesus fields the question of multiple spouses and the afterlife. Since the Sadducees were trying to corner Jesus into a contradiction in his teaching, we don’t take this question, or Jesus’ answer, as an example of good catechetical practice. Nor do we expect to find the core teaching of Jesus on the subject of marriage in this exchange.
1 Cor 2:9 (But as it is written: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,”) reminds us that we are responsible for giving our hearts and minds over to God’s truth in this life; but we can not even begin to understand how our life with Christ will be realized in the eternal Kingdom of God. What a joy and fulfillment lies ahead for each us. We can respond with the words of 2 Timothy, “…I know him in whom I have believed and am confident that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.”
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Citrus Heights, California.