Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”

Timothy and Titus

I remember you constantly in my prayers. (2 Timothy 1:3)

Born in Galatia, in present-day Turkey, Timothy was appointed by Paul at an early age as a fellow apos­tle. He accompanied Paul on many of his travels and became one of his closest associates. Later, Paul com­missioned him to lead the church at Ephesus. From Scripture we can gather that Timothy was rather timid and needed lots of encouragement from his mentor. Yet we also know that Timothy died a martyr’s death after publicly denouncing the wor­ship of the goddess Diana—in her own temple, no less!

So what gave this quiet pastor the courage to take such a bold stand? We could say that it was the grace that came to Timothy when Paul laid hands on him (2 Timothy 1:6). But there is more to it than that. Paul’s exhortation in itself must have been very inspiring. Timothy knew what his responsibilities as a bishop entailed, and he knew that God was with him. But he also needed strong encouragement to do all that God was asking of him.

Our world places a high value on self-reliance. But not even the great saints of the past operated alone.
Either they were part of a faith com­munity or they were accountable to someone who could help them on their spiritual journey. As Timothy needed the support of Paul, we need the support of our brothers and sis­ters in Christ. We also need to give out that support as well. None of us will get to heaven by ourselves!

There’s a reason why Jesus told his disciples: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). It’s not that he isn’t with us as individuals. No, it’s that we function best when we are united as the body of Christ. As we gather in Jesus’ name, the Holy Spirit ministers not only to us but through us. It doesn’t matter how “little” our ministry, parish group, or small group is. It’s not little to God. So give thanks for your fellow believers. You really do need them!

“Lord, help me see the gift that my fellow Christians are to me—and the gift that I can be to them. Show me how to participate more fully in your body, Lord.”
Psalm 96:1-3,7-8,10; Mark 4:21-25
Saint Charles Church, Providence, R. I.

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