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Thursday, January 26, 2006

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Sts. Timothy & Titus

2 Timothy 1:1-8 or
Titus 1:1-5
Psalm 96
Mark 4:21-25

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the heart of a pastor

"My purpose in leaving you in Crete was that you might accomplish what had been left undone." —Titus 1:5

Paul and Titus had apparently been on a missionary journey to Crete, a large island south of Greece. As their journey concluded, Paul decided to leave Titus in Crete to accomplish "what had been left undone" (Ti 1:5), which apparently was quite a lot. The people of Crete, as one of their own prophets testified, "have ever been liars, beasts, and lazy gluttons" (Ti 1:12). With a reputation like that, it's likely that Paul didn't get many resumes from young pastors applying for the position at Crete!

Titus had a huge task ahead of him. He had to admonish people sharply, in an attempt to keep them close to sound faith (Ti 1:13). He had to teach Christian behavior to young and old, men and women — in a real sense, to change their lifestyle from pagan to Christian (Ti 2:2-9) by very practical instruction (Ti 3:1-2, 14). It's likely that Titus received a lot of backlash in this ministry.

How did Titus ever handle this ministry to "disgusting" (Ti 1:16) beasts? Titus had the heart of a pastor. As on his earlier ministry to Corinth, God put zeal for the people of Crete into his heart (see 2 Cor 8:16). Thus, not only was Titus eager to go to Crete, but he went freely (cf 2 Cor 8:17). As Titus' heart embraced the Corinthians, a disgusting lot in their own right, "with an expanding love" (2 Cor 7:15), so his heart embraced the Cretans.

Whatever your vocation, God has given you a flock to pastor. Be a Titus. Give your heart to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Receive a great heart of love for your flock, "and more besides" (Mk 4:24).

Prayer:  Father, like Titus, may I constantly bring "strength" and "reinforcement" to my flock (2 Cor 7:6, 7).

Promise:  "In the measure you give you shall receive." —Mk 4:24

Praise:  "Thanks be to God, Who has put an equal zeal for you in the heart of Titus!" (2 Cor 8:16)

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

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