Close Friendship and Companionship

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

First Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8A, 10

R. (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Gospel: Mark 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”


Friendship is a gift. A true friend who’ll stand by you no matter the circumstance is to be treasured. Saint Paul had two such friends and today we celebrate their feast day.

Saints Timothy and Titus were two of Saint Paul’s closest friends and confidants. Theirs was a holy friendship, centered in the brotherhood of Christ. Saint Paul considered these men to be like sons and cared for them deeply. They worked closely with Saint Paul, traveling with him or on his behalf, to spread the Gospel and build the early Church.

Saint Timothy was young for such an important job and Saint Paul had to encourage him often not to be timid. Saint Paul says in the First Reading, “For God did not give us the spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control.” He’s instructing Saint Timothy to call upon the Holy Spirit to supply him with the supernatural strength he needs to teach God’s truth to the church growing in Ephesus.

Saint Titus was seen as a peacemaker and great administrator, which is why when Saint Paul was having difficulty with the people of Corinth, he sent Saint Titus with his admonition to straighten things out. I can imagine Saint Titus showing up with the First Letter to the Corinthians and saying, “Yo, listen up knuckleheads. Quit doing what you’re doing and get some Jesus.” Saint Paul later left Saint Titus in charge of the church in Crete where he had to correct abuses and appoint bishops.

So what can these two saints and their relationship to Saint Paul teach us? Holy friendship is about love, but also admonishment and encouragement. If we can’t speak the truth to our best friend then what kind of friend are we? I need my friends to call me out, in love, when I need an attitude adjustment. I want the best for and from my friends. Saint Paul wasn’t perfect but he loved Timothy and Titus enough to hold them to a higher standard, the same standard he expected of himself. The same standard God calls us all to.

[Tweet “A true friend who will stand by you no matter what is to be treasured. // @marylenaburg”]

How can you love your friends today? Is there an encouragement you can offer? Is their a more difficult conversation to have? Remember that when God is at the center of your friendship, the difficult moments can become moments of serious grace.

Mary Lenaburg married her first (and only) blind date going on 27 years, is a full-time liturgist, and parents one adult son navigating his path on earth and a special needs daughter safely in Heaven. You can find out more about her here.

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