Saints of the Day – Sts. Timothy and Titus – January 26
Everybody needs friends – a real support network. St. Paul was no exception and he was very fortunate to have Timothy and Titus, not only as helpers and proteges in his missionary work, but as very close friends.
Their story, as told in the Acts of the Apostles and the Pastoral Epistles, shows their work on behalf of the Gospel. Yet there is so much more between the lines. Timothy went to be with St. Paul when he was under house arrest in Rome. St. Paul was anguished about Timothy’s own arrest. St. Paul made sure that Titus was not circumcised in Jerusalem – that he did not have to conform to that church’s notion that Baptism was not enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. Paul could be lonely, discouraged, and moody like anyone else dealing with fatigue, mistrust, and the problems of the Christian communities which he founded. Even though his vocation was startling, miraculous and public, St. Paul wavered. He bargained with God. He was thoroughly human.
Timothy caught a lot of grief for being young and having to somehow soothe the roiling in various communities of the Faith. Titus had the unenviable task of delivering letters from St. Paul which were not exactly “good news” for the recipients. Unlike the postal service, he couldn’t excuse himself and take off. He had to stay and work things out.
The French saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” applies to Christian communities from the very beginning to the present. As much as St. Paul and his friends relied on prayer, their friendship was a sacrament that many of us have experienced. Most of the time it is all too easy to forget that we are more than church members. To survive and reach past our own limitations and those of others, true devoted friends are the sacrament of God’s presence.