Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

The conversion of Saul to the service of Christ taught us that Jesus desires all of us to follow Him, and that there is no one who does not have a place among His followers. Judas has left an empty seat at the table, and though we will often turn away from the Lord we can, by His grace, return, time and again. Jesus always sets out that extra chair for us, always sets a place for us.

For He is not the kind of King who is raising an army, nor is He looking to hire a large number of mere servants; He wants more than servants. One could even dare to say He is looking for something more than just friends with whom He might paint the world white, because in today’s Gospel He reveals a desire for something greater; a family.

For example who is Mary if she did not do the will of God? She was, of course, absolutely free to say “no” to God’s proposal. But it was by her “yes” that she became the Mother of Jesus, not merely because she bore and raised Him. Mary’s “yes” was a conception: she conceived the Word of God—as spoken by the angel—in her heart, before she bore the Incarnate Word in her womb. At the Last Supper Jesus says to His apostles that they are no longer servants, but friends (John 15:15) yet, if today’s Gospel teaches us anything, it is that they became something more at Pentecost when they began to do the will of God in the world: they became His brothers. The women there in the Upper Room likewise became sisters; the same Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary in Nazareth and brought about the Body of Christ in her womb brought about the Mystical Body of Christ, born of the same Spirit, begotten by the same Father, the same Mother who sheltered that nascent Church in the shadow of her maternal mantle.

We celebrate today two brothers of the Lord: Timothy and Titus. They, too, did the will of God, overseeing the Church in Ephesus and Crete as their bishops. Timothy was a Jew and Titus was a Greek, and as the Church grew there came to be even more unlikely members of Christ’s family. For that is what the Church is: the family of God. That is why, brothers and sisters, at Mass the priest says, “At the Savior’s command, formed by divine teaching, we dare to say Our Father…” Yes, we dare! For all who do the will of God are brothers and sisters of Christ, and thus God is our Father.

Imitate Christ in His work, and do the will of the Father, as countless of our brothers and sisters have already done before us. Name any saint; are they not now praying for you, their brother or their sister? Does not your Mother—Mary—pray for you, her own child, as much her child as is Christ? And does not the Father love you with the very same love—the Holy Spirit, which you have received in Baptism and Confirmation—with which He loves His only Begotten Son? Then we have absolutely nothing to fear, for we are surrounded by such a love as we cannot comprehend, nor escape; “…love never fails.”

January 26th, 2016