Skip to comments.Timothy and Titus: They Teach Us to Serve the Gospel With Generosity
Posted on 12/13/2006 7:56:06 PM PST by ELS
Timothy and Titus
"They Teach Us to Serve the Gospel With Generosity"
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at today's general audience, dedicated to comment on two of the Apostle Paul's closest aides: Timothy and Titus.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters:
After speaking at length of the great Apostle Paul, today we take into consideration two of his closest collaborators: Timothy and Titus. To them are addressed three letters traditionally attributed to Paul, of which two are destined to Timothy and one to Titus.
"Timothy" is a Greek name and means "who honors God." While Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, mentions him six times, Paul names him on 17 occasions in his letters (moreover he appears once in the Letter to the Hebrews). We can deduce that from Paul he enjoyed great consideration, although Luke does not tell us all that he had to do with him. The Apostle, in fact, entrusted him with important missions and saw in him a sort of "alter ego," as can be seen in his great praise of him in the Letter to the Philippians. "I have no one like him, who will be genuinely anxious for your welfare" (2:20).
Timothy was born in Lystra (some 200 kilometers northwest of Tarsus) of a Jewish mother and a pagan father (cf. Acts 16:1). The fact that his mother had contracted a mixed marriage and that she did not circumcise her son leads one to think that Timothy was brought up in a family that was not strictly observant, though it is said that he knew the Scriptures from his childhood (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15). His mother's name has been transmitted to us, Eunice, and that of his grandmother, Lois (cf. 2 Timothy 1:5).
When Paul passed through Lystra at the start of his second missionary journey, he chose Timothy as his companion, as "he was well spoken by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium" (Acts 16:2), but he "circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places " (Acts 16:3). Together with Paul and Silas, Timothy went across Asia Minor to Troas, from where he went to Macedonia. We are told that in Philippi, where Paul and Silas were accused of disturbing the city and imprisoned for having been opposed to some unscrupulous individuals who were taking advantage of a slave girl who had a spirit of divination (cf. Acts 16:16-40), Timothy was released. When Paul then was obliged to travel to Athens, Timothy caught up with him in that city and from there was sent to the young Church of Thessalonica to confirm her in the faith (cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2). He then joined the Apostle in Corinth, giving him good news about the Thessalonians and collaborating with him in the evangelization of that city (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:19).
We again find Timothy in Ephesus, during Paul's third missionary journey. From there, the Apostle wrote probably to Philemon and to the Philippians, and both letters were written with Timothy (cf. Philemon 1; Philippians 1:1). From Ephesus, Paul sent him to Macedonia with a certain Erastus (cf. Acts 19:22) and later to Corinth, with the task to take a letter, in which he recommended to the Corinthians that they give him a good reception (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10-11).
He appears again as co-writer of the Second Letter to the Corinthians, and when from Corinth Paul wrote the Letter to the Romans, he transmitted greetings to Timothy, as well as to others (cf. Romans 16:21). From Corinth, the disciple again traveled to Troas, on the Asian shore of the Aegean Sea, there to await the Apostle who was going to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey (cf. Acts 20:4).
From that moment, we can say that the figure of Timothy stands out as that of a pastor of great importance. According to Eusebius' subsequent "Ecclesiastical History," Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus (cf. 3:4). Some of his relics have been in Italy since 1239, in the Cathedral of Termoli, in Molise, having come from Constantinople.
As regards the figure of Titus, whose name is of Latin origin, we know that he was Greek by birth, that is, pagan (cf. Galatians 2:3). Paul took him to Jerusalem on the occasion of the so-called Apostolic Council, in which the preaching of the Gospel to pagans was solemnly accepted without imposing upon them the precepts of the Mosaic law.
In the Letter he addresses to him, the Apostle praises him describing him as "my true child in our common faith" (Titus 1:4). After Timothy went to Corinth, Paul sent Titus with the task to call that rebellious community to obedience. Titus brought peace to the Church of Corinth and the Apostle wrote these words: "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only with his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.... Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by you all" (2 Corinthians 7:6-7,13). Paul again sent Titus -- whom he called "partner and co-worker" (2 Corinthians 8:23) -- to organize the completion of the collections for the Christians of Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:6). Subsequent news found in these pastoral letters speak of him as bishop of Crete (cf. Titus 1:5), from whence, by invitation of Paul, he joined the Apostle in Nicopolis, in Epirus, (cf. Titus 3:12). Later he also went to Dalmatia (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10). We do not have any more information on Titus' subsequent trips or on his death.
In short, if we consider together the two figures of Timothy and Titus, we are aware of some significant facts. The most important is that Paul used collaborators in the development of his missions. He is, of course, the Apostle par excellence, founder and pastor of many Churches. Nevertheless, it is clear that he did not do it all alone, but leaned on trustworthy persons, who shared the effort and responsibilities.
To be pointed out, moreover is the willingness of his collaborators. The sources we have on Timothy and Titus underline their willingness to take on the different tasks, which often consisted in representing Paul even in difficult circumstances. In other words, they teach us to serve the Gospel with generosity, knowing that this also implies a service to the Church herself.
Let us take up, finally, the recommendation that the Apostle Paul makes to Titus in the letter he addresses to him: "This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these points, that those who have believed in God be careful to devote themselves to good works; these are excellent and beneficial to others" (Titus 3:8). With our concrete commitment, we must and can discover the truth of these words, and carry out in this season of Advent good works to open the doors of the world to Christ, our Savior.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[At the end of the audience, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Continuing our catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry, we now consider Saints Timothy and Titus, two close associates of Saint Paul in his missionary journeys. Timothy, born of a Jewish mother and a pagan father, is frequently mentioned in the Apostle's Letters. Titus, a convert from paganism, was brought by Paul to the Council of Jerusalem, which sanctioned the preaching of the Gospel to the pagans while not imposing on them the precepts of the Mosaic Law. Both were sent by Paul on important missions to the young Churches, often as his representatives in difficult situations. As we see from the New Testament epistles addressed to Timothy and Titus, Paul clearly counted on the help of these two collaborators in his ministry. Timothy and Titus were likewise prompt in accepting the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Apostle. May the example of these apostolic men inspire us to serve the cause of the Gospel with generosity, and thus contribute to the building up of Christ's Church.
I offer a cordial welcome to the members of the ecumenical pilgrimage sponsored by the Catholic Bishops' Conference and the National Council of Churches in Korea. May your visit to Rome be a source of inspiration in your efforts to promote the unity of all Christ's followers. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Audience, especially those from the Philippines, Australia and the United States of America, I cordially invoke God's blessings of joy and peace.
© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2006 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, the Holy Father met with faithful from dioceses in the Italian region of Calabria, accompanied by their bishops who are in the process of completing their "ad limina" visit. Also present was a group of Italian students. Afterwards, the Holy Father went to the Paul VI Hall for his weekly general audience.
In a brief greeting to the faithful gathered in the basilica, the Holy Father said that the Church in Calabria must continue "her evangelizing mission, more urgent than ever even in our own times, in order to face the current cultural, social and religious challenges. From the Gospel, courageously draw the light and strength to promote the authentic moral, social and economic renewal of your region. Be joyful witnesses of Christ and tireless builders of His Kingdom of justice and peace.
In conclusion, the Pope thanked the region of Calabria which this year has donated the Christmas tree to adorn St. Peter's Square. The tree is due to be erected today.
In the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father's catechesis focused on Sts. Timothy and Titus, two of St. Paul's closest associates. Benedict XVI recalled how Timothy, a "pastor of great importance," was the first bishop of Ephesus, while Titus, whom Paul defined as "my true child in a common faith," was bishop of Crete.
These two men, said the Holy Father, tell us that Paul, the archetypal Apostle, "did not do everything alone, but relied upon trusted individuals to share his labors and responsibilities."
The Pope highlighted the "willingness" of Timothy and Titus "to take on various tasks, which often involved representing Paul in difficult circumstances. Thus they teach us," he added, "to serve the Gospel generously, knowing that this involves a service to the Church herself."
Pope Benedict XVI quoted St. Paul's words in his Letter to Titus, where the Apostle exhorts his helper to remain faithful to the true doctrine: "'I desire you to insist on these things so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.'
"Through a solid commitment on our part," the Pope concluded, "we can and must discover the truth of these words and, precisely in this period of Advent, be rich in good works, thus opening the door of the world to Christ, our Savior." AG/TIMOTHY:TITUS/... VIS 061213 (420)
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Thank you, ELS!
What wonderful photos, especially the last one.
nice pictures. these addresses will make a great book someday.
BTTT of the Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, January 26, 2007!
St. Timothy and St. Titus
Besides being saints and bishops in the early Church, these two men have something else in common. Both received the gift of faith through the preaching of St. Paul.
Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Gentile. When Paul came to preach in Lycaonia, Timothy, his mother and his grandmother all became Christians. Several years later, Paul went back and found Timothy grown up. He felt that Timothy had a call from God to be a missionary. Paul invited him to join him in preaching the Gospel. So it was that Timothy left his home and parents to follow Paul. He was soon to share in Paul's sufferings as well. They would have the joy of bringing the Word of God to many people. Timothy was the great apostle's beloved disciple, like a son to him. He went everywhere with Paul until he became bishop of Ephesus. Then Timothy stayed there to shepherd his people. As St. Paul, Timothy, too, died a martyr.
Titus was a Gentile nonbeliever. He, too, became Paul's disciple. Titus was generous and hard-working. He joyfully preached the Good News with Paul on their missionary travels. Because Titus was so trustworthy, Paul freely sent him on many "missions" to the Christian communities. Titus helped people strengthen their faith in Jesus. He was able to restore peace when there were arguments among the Christians. Titus had a special gift for being a peacemaker. Paul appreciated this gift in Titus and recognized it as the Holy Spirit's work. Paul would send Titus to iron out difficulties. When Titus would arrive among a group of Christians, the guilty ones would feel sorry. They would ask forgiveness and would make up for what they had done. When peace was restored, Titus would go back and tell Paul about the good results. This brought Paul and the first Christians much happiness.
St. Paul made Titus bishop of the island of Crete, where he stayed until his death.
"Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching." (2 Tm 4:2)
Saints Timothy & Titus, Bishops
Saints Timothy and Titus were two of the most beloved and trusted disciples of St. Paul, whom they accompanied in many of his journeys.
St. Timothy has been regarded by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus", Rev 2:1-17. According to the ancient Roman martyrology he died Bishop of Ephesus. The Bollandists (Jan. 24) give two lives of St. Timothy, one ascribed to Polycrates (an early Bishop of Ephesus, and a contemporary of St. Irenæus) and the other by Metaphrastes, which is merely an expansion of the former. The first states that during the Neronian persecution St. John arrived at Ephesus, where he lived with St. Timothy until he was exiled to Patmos under Domitian. Timothy, who was unmarried, continued Bishop of Ephesus until, when he was over eighty years of age, he was mortally beaten by the pagans. According to early tradition Titus continued after St. Paul's death as Archbishop of Crete, and died there when he was over ninety.
(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition, )
First Reading 2 Timothy 1:1-8
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God.
or Titus 1:1-5
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago and at the proper time manifested in His word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by command of God our Savior;
To Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-9
After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'
Related Link on the Vatican Website: Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 13 December 2006, Timothy and Titus