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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Timothy 1, 18-20

Timothy, my son, these are the instructions that I am giving you, in accordance with the words once spoken over you by the prophets, so that in their light you may fight like a good soldier

with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.

I mean men like Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan so that they may learn not to be blasphemous.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

After the brief look at his own vocation (1:12-17), Paul again exhorts Timothy. He calls him "son" because he begot him to the faith. And in this spirit of communion he exhorts him to teach the Gospel of love and mercy of which he has just spoken, recalling his conversion (1:3-11). The apostle reminds the young disciple that the extraordinary judgments ("prophecies") pronounced in his favour on the occasion of his apostolic induction, and his energetic activity in defence of the Gospel, have led him to entrust him with the responsibility for the Ephesians’ community. Here the apostle uses the Greek word "paratìthemai" (i.e. entrust to someone’s care) in order to indicate the entrusting of something that does not belong either to the one who entrusts it or the one who receives it. For indeed Paul entrusts To Timothy the community, which is of Christ. We could say that the Spirit of God, who watches over the Churches, makes use also of the consensus of brothers and sisters to indicate who should assume the task of being responsible for the community. Also through this "succession" in pastoral guidance, what the Lord promised the disciples is fulfilled: "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20). The bond with Christ, which the "succession" emphasizes in front of all, makes Timothy ready to maintain the responsibility of a shepherd and fight the good fight against falsifiers of the Gospel. The apostle gladly compares the life of the disciple with military service, especially when one is called to positions of responsibility in the Church. In the second letter Paul writes to him: "Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer" (2:3-4). The minister, as a partisan of Jesus Christ in the "good battle," should be trained to fight and suffer. It is not a matter of reaching any perfection but to be trained to fight against evil and build the community of the disciples of the Lord. This requires attention and passion, commitment and sacrifice, just like in a battle. His most effective armour is faith and a good conscience. That is to say, listening continually to the Word of god strengthens our faith and enlightens our conscience. Whoever goes to battle with a weak and uncertain faith, with an unquiet and unclean conscience, is inexorably overpowered by evil. It is essential to keep and nourish the light that comes from the Word of God and the apostolic preaching. Two men, Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom Paul names, were probably his collaborators in Ephesus. Hymenaeus is mentioned (2 Tim 2:17) as a liar regarding the resurrection and a certain Alexander (2 Tim 4:14) the smith against whom Paul is warning Timothy. Both are "delivered to Satan" by the apostle, since they threatened the existence of the community by their life and doctrine. This exclusion from the community that the apostle has decided is an act of discipline born out of love for the community that it may be protected from all division and grow in love. The unity of the community is a precious treasure that must be defended in all cases.

Memory of the Church