Lifelong CatechesisForming Catholic identity across generations
For a large part of the liturgical year, we devote ourselves to listening to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects unfolded as we seek God's truth and understanding.
Timothy, Bishop and Martyr, d. c. 97
Timothy was the son of a Greek father and Eunice, a Jewish mother who, together with her mother, Lois, converted to Christianity. These two women were responsible for Timothy’s early instruction in the faith and were commended by St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy.
Timothy was living in Lystra when St. Paul visited there around the year 47. He joined that saint for the second and third of his missionary journeys and is frequently mentioned in the Bible in both the Acts of the Apostles and in Paul’s letters. Timothy was with Paul at the founding of the church in Corinth. He was probably with Paul when the apostle was imprisoned in Caesarea and, later, in Rome. Timothy was himself imprisoned, but was later set free.
We can learn something from the two letter of St. Paul to Timothy, his chosen successor. In the first, Paul charges Timothy to use his gifts well, to select his bishops and deacons carefully, to take care of widows, to preach only sound doctrine, and “no longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”
In the second letter, the most personal of all his writings, Paul is nearing the end of his life (“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Tm 4:7). He gives Timothy further advice on how to conduct his ministry, and tells him to “be strong in the grace which is ours in Christ Jesus.” He also speaks of his loneliness in prison, and his great friendship for Timothy, and his desire for Timothy to visit him.
According to tradition, Timothy became the first bishop of Ephesus and was stoned to death there when he opposed a pagan festival.
We celebrate the Memorial to St. Timothy on January 26.
Timothy's message today: Tradition tells us that Timothy followed Paul’s advice and used his gifts well. He was indeed "strong in the grace which is ours in Christ Jesus." Jesus asks us to do the same, that is, to use our gifts well and be strong in the grace that God gives us.