Friday, 26 January 2018 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate after the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, the feast for two of his close confidants and friends, St. Timothy and St. Titus, to each of whom St. Paul wrote a letter, as recorded in the Scriptures, as the Epistle to St. Timothy and to St. Titus. Both of them were important leaders of the early Church, as those who were first appointed and chosen to become the overseers of the Church, the first of the bishops.

They were the ones whom the Apostles appointed to help in the management and governance of the Church, which at that time had rapidly spread throughout many cities, towns and villages throughout the Mediterranean region and beyond. With more and more people coming to the faith and were baptised, there was an ever greater need for more shepherds and guides in their faith.

And as more and more priests and deacons were chosen from among the people, dedicating their whole lives to God, the bishops like St. Timothy and St. Titus worked hard to build up the Church, guiding the people and those who serve the Lord as their shepherds. They follow in the example of the one and only Good Shepherd of all, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is their role model, and following His examples, they all performed what the Lord had commanded them to do.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus sending His seventy-two other disciples ahead of Him, to be the ones who prepare the path for His coming. The Lord told them to be prepared, as they would be sent like lambs sent to be among the wolves. This means that it would be likely for them to encounter challenges and difficulties during their mission, facing ridicule, rejection and even persecution.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus also mentioned that while the harvest was plentiful, but the labourers available to gather the harvest were few and insufficient. He called for the faithful to heed the Lord’s call, to embrace the mission of the Church, as the labourers to help fulfil God’s good works and graces among His people. And this is what our courageous priests and bishops have done, answering God’s call and following Him.

Yet, there are truly many challenges that they have to face, exactly just as what the Lord forewarned His disciples, that they would face those adversaries and tribulations during their mission. And yet, still, many of us as Christians, we do not support what they have been doing for our good and for the good of the Church at large, and instead, we slander them and even gossip about them, and made things difficult for them.

On this time and age, there is an ever greater need for the Church to have faithful and dedicated servants of the Lord, through whom God may be able to perform His wonderful deeds, calling more and more of His people to salvation and redemption in His Name. We need more devoted priests and bishops, those who are willing to spend their time, effort and attention, to call God’s people back to Him through repentance, and dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to Him.

It is getting increasingly difficult to find those who are willing to give their all to the Lord, as temptations after temptations, one after another, are always around to tempt more and more young men who have been called by the Lord. If we as Christians do not lend them our support, then it is not a surprising result that there are increasingly more and more problems facing the candidature to priesthood and religious life.

Let us all therefore do our best, as Christians, to take care of all those who have given themselves to the Lord, by providing our support and help, by encouraging them and giving them the backup they need. Let all those who are among us, who have been called by the Lord, heed His call and respond to His words speaking to us in the depths of our heart.

May the Lord bless all of our shepherds, so that they may imitate the examples of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, particularly the glorious and ever faithful St. Timothy and St. Titus, in serving Him and the people of God. May the Lord awaken in our hearts, the ever stronger desire to love Him and to devote ourselves to Him, day after day. St. Timothy and St. Titus, pray for us. Amen.

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