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Learning from St. Paul and Grandma Lois

Tuesday, January 26, 2021   Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops (Lectionary: 520/318)

Reading I   2 Tm 1:1-8
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

OR:

Ti 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

Responsorial Psalm   96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10
R. (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Alleluia   See Mt 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Mk 3:31-35
The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

By Owen Williams 

I teach twelfth grade theology.  Throughout the time I’ve spent doing this work, I’ve heard an amazing number inspiring origin stories from my students on their spiritual lives. For many of the guys in my classes, it begins with their parents and grandparents handing on their faith by sharing their own encounters with God, by offering opportunities for familial prayer, or by worshipping together. 

I suspect that if Saint Timothy, to whom Paul’s letter in our first reading is addressed, were in one of my classes, he might offer a similar response: “It all started with my Grandma Lois!”

As I prayed with these readings, I kept returning to the beauty of human relationships.  As human beings, created in the image and likeness of the Triune God, we are made to be in relationship with one another. 

This past year, especially, has brought this reality to a new light in my life,

and it has certainly made me more grateful for the people in my life, who inspire, support, challenge, and love me daily.  

In our first reading, we hear Paul’s appreciation for the handing down of faith to Timothy from his grandmother and his mother.  Paul writes that he is “...filled with joy” as he recalls Timothy’s faith. 

It was the witness and encouragement of these two women in Timothy’s life that stirred the flame within his own heart.  I can certainly relate.  The witness of my parents and grandparents was instrumental in the cultivation of my own faith and spirituality.

I often tell my students that human life is all about relationships. 

As they share their spiritual journeys with me, that capital-T Truth of the human experience rings on.  Like Timothy, I encounter God in and through relationships with others. 

The Gospel author Mark offers more depth to this reflection on the simple beauty of human relationships, as Jesus says to the crowd: “...whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mk. 3:34).  I am praying today that I will continue to cultivate relationships rooted in love and empathy, so that I might continue to encounter God in and through my brothers and sisters.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Owen Williams is a high school theology teacher who is deeply rooted in the reality that human beings are the beloved of God.  Through his teaching, he seeks to stoke deep thinking, dedicated listening, and appreciation for the perspective of the other in his students.  He is passionate about Liberation Theology, the spiritualities of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen, and contemplative prayer.  Owen enjoys reading, watching movies, and golfing.  You can Owen here.

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