MONDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness, in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began— in due time he revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior,
To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation. Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had 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.
In the letter to Titus, we see how God wants his servants to behave. “God’s steward, must be blameless; not arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; he must be self-controlled, hospitable, prudent, upright, devout, and love goodness. He must have a firm grasp of the word in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
He gives grace, expecting us to use that grace as his responsible ones to teach children and defend the faith. We must take rebukes and ask forgiveness. He expects us to continually work on being reconciled and is patient with us again and again.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts.
If we want to be close to the Lord, we are required to live a life of repentance and to rebuke our brothers when they sin. If we do not, we may find ourselves having a share in causing little ones to stumble.
Our actions have a way of infecting others because there is a spirit behind every action. A scandal is one person’s fault but the example can cause another person to fall. A rebuke is just a word but it is able to change a person’s mind and heart. A prayer, if done in faith, is only a word but it has the power to move mountains.
Today, let us pray for bishops to be holy, for the rebuking of sin, for the protection of little ones, and repentance and forgiveness wherever it is needed. Amen