Passing the Baton of faith- Saturday, 24th week in ordinary time- I Timothy 6: 13-16
The pastoral letter to Timothy comes to a close. Its intention was to defend the Church from false teachers who worked not for God, but for fame and money. Timothy is not to be like them; he is to be a ‘man of God’, a title used for the great worthies of the Old Testament, like Moses and Samuel.
Unlike the sophists and false teachers who called their teachings ‘knowledge’ or ‘gnosis’, the author of the pastorals wants to present Christianity by its ‘clear knowledge’ or ‘epignosis’. What needs to preserved is the true teaching of the faith or ‘paratheke’. The word ‘paratheke’ was used to refer to a deposit of money which a person had to hand back exactly as they received it. This was Timothy’s job, to preserve the deposit of the Christian faith, untarnished by the teachings of the sophists.
Now Timothy is called to emulate Christ Himself who fought the good fight. Timothy is reminded that Christ will come again and that Christ is God. The word in verse 14, ‘I charge’ is not to be understood as human mandate, but as a divine mandate given to Timothy. Timothy’s charge is unlike the false teachers whose ‘charge’ is greed and popularity.
In all of this, Timothy is reminded of Christ whom he servers. Christ alone is sovereign; it is He alone who is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no eye has seen or can see. The writer of the pastorals closes this letter keeping the political situation very much in mind. The Roman Emperors had appropriated these titles of divinity and immortality. Timothy is reminded once again, to whom they actually belong.
Timothy was faithful; he handed over the deposit of faith as he received it, and two thousand years later we hold what was faithfully taught and preserved. The baton now has to be handed over and we have to run the race!
Fr Warner D’Souza
References from the JBC
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