Festival of St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor
The Lord be with you
Today, the Church delights to celebrate the companion of St. Paul, St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor.
The Festivals of St. Timothy and St. Titus (January 26) cluster around that of St. Paul’s conversion (January 25). This is most fitting, since both were close companions of the great apostle to the Gentiles. They labored with him to preach the saving Gospel.
St. Paul first encountered Timothy on his second missionary journey. He soon took the young man under his wing as a pastor and missionary in training (see Acts 16:1-3). St. Timothy had a Jewish mother, but his father was a Greek. In order to use him most efficiently for the ministry that St. Paul envisioned among the Jewish communities, he circumcised him.
Despite his previous lack of circumcision, his faithful mother, Lois, and grandmother Eunice raised Timothy in a faith-filled home. They loved the Word of God and had carefully nurtured the lad in the faith. They had taught him the promises and songs of the Holy Scriptures. He knew the story of God’s people. Paul would later praise this godly heritage that shaped Timothy: “From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
St. Paul’s great love for Timothy, whom he called his son in the faith, resulted in the two letters in the New Testament that bear Timothy’s name. These crucial writings provide us with invaluable information about the shape of church life during the later apostolic age. In them, we see that each local community had a pastor who worked with others to oversee the life of the congregation. These men above all labored in teaching and preaching, but they also administered a lively ministry of mercy together with deacons. They were, like St. Timothy, to devote themselves to the reading of the Word of God so that they could rebuke and comfort with full assurance.
The early tradition of the Church suggests that St. Timothy was with St. Paul in Rome when the great apostle was at last beheaded for his unwavering confession of Christ. Afterward, St. Timothy is said to have returned to Ephesus in Asia Minor, there serving as bishop until he also was granted a martyr’s death toward the very end of the first century AD.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your Holy Word and administer Your Means of Grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Weedon, William Celebrating the Saints 22-23