From Paul, servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion; and to give them the hope of the eternal life that was promised so long ago by God. He does not lie and so, at the appointed time, he revealed his decision, and, by the command of God our saviour, I have been commissioned to proclaim it. To Titus, true child of mine in the faith that we share, wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our saviour.
The reason I left you behind in Crete was for you to get everything organised there and appoint elders in every town, in the way that I told you: that is, each of them must be a man of irreproachable character; he must not have been married more than once, and his children must be believers and not uncontrollable or liable to be charged with disorderly conduct. Since, as president, he will be God’s representative, he must be irreproachable: never an arrogant or hot-tempered man, nor a heavy drinker or violent, nor out to make money; but a man who is hospitable and a friend of all that is good; sensible, moral, devout and self-controlled; and he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Obstacles are sure to come, but alas for the one who provides them! It would be better for him to be thrown into the Sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones. Watch yourselves!
If your brother does something wrong, reprove him and, if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, “I am sorry,” you must forgive him.’
The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’
“Each of them must be a man of irreproachable character”
I am a movie buff and especially enjoy a good action or thriller movie. One particularly memorable movie I remember was ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’. The movie still sends chills down my spine even after so many years.
In this movie, a poor young man schemes, forges, lies and murders his way to a life of luxury and wealth. Along the way, he assumes the identity of another, making others around him believe that he is extremely wealthy and cultured, while he hatches his various plots to hang on to his ill-gotten wealth.
As the movie progresses, his façade unravels at an increasing pace, and Ripley is forced to take drastic measures to prevent others finding out his falsehoods. Despite having the money he has obtained from his ruses, Ripley remains a poor imitation of the real thing. He is, at the end of the movie, clearly well-off, but destined to live a life of loneliness and continued deceit.
Unlike such a character, the apostle Paul, in the reading today, lists the qualities of the elders he wanted appointed in every town. These qualities required the men to be authentic, that their behavior must reflect their values; so much so that the men would remain steadfast and have a consistent grasp of defending and explaining the message of the Gospel.
Brothers and sisters, in our spiritual lives, we too need to always remain steadfast and firm. The temptations of the world are numerous and sin is literally around every corner. Let us always keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not be swayed by those around us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Lord, may we be always mindful that You can truly see us for who we are. We ask that You may give us strength to truly live a truly authentic Christian life.
Thanksgiving: Thank You for showing us how to live our lives Father. We are grateful for the freedom that this truth brings to our lives O God!