Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday of Zacchaeus 2018 (children)

1 Timothy 4:9-15

Today’s reading is one of my favorites. St. Paul is writing to St. Timothy, whose feastday is tomorrow. St. Timothy was an apostle of the seventy and he was the bishop of Ephesus. There's one thing here: "Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." So we see here in St. Paul's words that Timothy is a fairly young man, but he says, you know, live the way you're supposed to live. Be an example. Even though you're young, don't make that an excuse, but do your best to set an example, in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Yes, you're young, but you are a Christian, and this is how you're supposed to conduct yourself.

That's a difficult thing to remember, because we have many examples, if we look around us, of people who want to continue to act like children in society. We don't have to look too far to see people who are grown up and who should know better and who continue to try and act like children or young men and women. Here we see the opposite: that we want to become mature in our faith, from a young age. Yes, we make mistakes along the way, and that's the way we learn. In our faith, we learn our whole life through. But, as St. Paul tells Timothy, he's telling us, even especially to you who are young: Let no one despise your youth.

Set an example of how you talk: talk with love for one another, do not gossip, do not lie. Set an example in your speech. Set an example in your conduct: do not get angry easily, do the things that you need to do even though they may not be the things that we love the most. I know I didn't like homework a whole lot when I was in school, but, again, these are things that are, for the most part, good for us: they teach us things, they help us to grow as human beings. So set an example in your conduct. Do the things that you need to do, joyfully. Live your lives in love, in faith, and in purity.

Like I said, St. Paul is telling Timothy, but we read them in church because he tells them to all of us. So do your best from now, when you're young, and the rest of us wherever we may be in life, to follow these words of St. Paul, and set an example, in speech, in conduct, in love and faith and purity. Because these are the things that make the people around us know that we truly have the grace of Christ, that we are actually Christians because we have the love of God within us and the peace of God within us. Let us ask God to guide us, let us strive to the best of our ability to do the things that St. Paul tells here to St. Timothy, and let us always give glory, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.



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