Year C: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: based on St Paul’s second Letter to Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14
St Paul is writing a second letter to his friend and fellow-worker Timothy - and very quickly gets to the nitty-gritty of his message - to fan into a flame the gift that God gave when Paul laid his hands on him...not a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-control.
Many of us will remember being told that Confirmation was a sacrament that made us “soldiers for Christ” - and the gentle tap on the face that was supposed to represent the slaps in the face true believers might have to expect. That image is used less these days - but it did carry an important message to those being confirmed: Being a Christian is no picnic - it is hard work and you will need courage and resilience to stand firm in your Faith -and even more, if you try to proclaim it.
Today, Christians in many countries face a dilemma: Do I stand up and be counted - or do I cower in the face of what I know to be wrong?
For us, such dilemmas can seem less pressing. We are not faced with stark choices of life or death. But we do have choices and have to ask ourselves: do I stand up and be counted - or do I cower in the face of what I know to be wrong?
When I witness something wrong - which spirit is stronger in me - the spirit of timidity - or the Spirit of power?
When I see someone hurt and in need of help - which spirit is stronger - the spirit of timidity (of not wanting to get involved) or the Spirit of love?
When I am tempted to follow my friends down paths that I know will lead to no good - which spirit is stronger - the spirit of timidity (of wanting to be part of the crowd - of fear of being different) or the Spirit of self-control (believing in yourself and your own values)?
The Reading ends with words to Timothy that could equally be said to us: You have been trusted to look after something precious; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Do we always realise that?
Are we trustworthy?
What does it mean for me?
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