Third Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 1-26-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading 2 Tm 1:1-8; Ps 96:1-3,7-8,10; Gospel Mk 4:21-25
Memorial: Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops
Theme: Do Not Be Afraid
Today’s message is “Do not be afraid.” Go and spread the gospel to all peoples. This is especially true for those to whom God called into service. St. Paul exhorts Timothy to not be afraid and to allow the Holy Spirit, along with the graces and power imparted to him through the imposition of his hands, to speak boldly about Jesus and His Gospel. Timothy, as a bishop of Ephesus, was given special graces and power to exhort the people, bringing them to faith in Jesus and strengthening those who already believe.
Jesus, too, in Mark’s Gospel today is saying basically the same thing to the twelve Apostles. Jesus picked these men to be special emissaries for His message to all people. He endowed them with grace and power that interacts with their faith to bring about a change to holiness and worship in others. This is not something the rank-and-file will receive.
Through this imparting of grace by Christ, the twelve leave behind simple discipleship and become Apostles. By endowing the twelve with these gifts, they must expect that more will be asked of them. And, as they do more, so will more be given to them so they can do even more.
Should they not go forth and not use those gifts for transformation of the peoples, and hide their lamp under a bushel basket, what they have will be taken away and given to others who are accomplishing His goals and bearing good fruit.
Like the parable of the ten talents, if you are given a talent to invest, you should invest it and add one more to it so that you have two. If you bury your talent and do not invest it, no talent will be added.
That one talent you were given originally will be taken from you and given to the one who has ten. You will be left with nothing (Mt 25:14-30).
For Timothy and Titus, as bishops, this is a great responsibility and so it is for every bishop since then. We need to pray for our bishops every day, that they may continue to add to their talents and grow the faith, building the spiritual body of Christ.
For you and me, we too have a great responsibility as faithful disciples to go forth and spread the Gospel. Do not be afraid to take the talent, the gifts God has given you, no matter how few or small you feel they are, and go out and invest them in your neighbors so that those talents may grow the number of people won for God.
As the today’s psalm says:
“Sing to the Lord; bless his name:
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
Say among the nations; the Lord is king.”