Good Morning Friends! Here’s today’s Moment of Truth with Gary Zimak, the memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus…
Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human? What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor. (1 Cor 3:4-8)
Those of us who constantly try to learn more about Catholicism generally have our “favorite” sources. We have our favorite authors, priests, websites, devotions and even Saints! Some speakers inspire us while others “bore us to tears”. What works for one person often doesn’t work for someone else. While there’s nothing wrong with favoring certain sources, we want to be sure that we’re following the message and not just the messenger.
As evidenced by the above Scripture passage, this problem is nothing new. St. Paul is reminding the Corinthians that, although he and Apollos are preaching the “Good News”, it is actually God who is doing the work. He was attempting to prevent the people from becoming followers of human messengers and encouraging them to focus on the message of Jesus Christ.
What’s the harm in having a favorite Catholic preacher, you might ask? Usually nothing, as long as we keep things in their proper perspective. If we start to focus more on the messenger than the message, however, there could be negative consequences. What happens if our favorite speaker starts to depart from Church teaching and veers too far to the right or too far to the left? How about if that person is involved in a public scandal? What do we do when our beloved parish priest gets transferred? If we’re not careful, becoming too attached to one person could do serious damage to our faith.
What’s the solution? Simply to remember that God uses many fallible instruments to accomplish his work. Try to avoid putting any minister, no matter how holy they seem, on a pedestal. Focusing too much much on the messenger can cause us to miss the Lord’s message. Some prefer Scott Hahn, others like Father Mitch Pacwa and some are inspired by listening to their parish priest. The important thing to remember is that they’re all presenting the “Good News” of Jesus Christ…
and that’s what REALLY matters!
This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth (1 Tm 2:3-4)
As we begin our journey in search of the one, true Church, let’s take a look at some comforting news. God wants EVERYONE to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. Before you say, “tell me something I don’t know!”, let’s take a minute to unpack the wealth of revelation in Saint Paul’s ”simple” statement.
God wants us to be saved - This is GREAT news! Although it may seem a little obvious, it’s something that should make us very happy. Additionally, if God wants us to be saved then He will make it possible for us to achieve our salvation. While this can only be done through the merits of Jesus Christ, we still need to do our part by pursuing and obeying the “truth”.
There is ONE truth - Since the truth represents reality, it is impossible to have multiple, conflicting truths. St. Paul’s statement to Timothy affirms that there exists a single truth.
God wants us to KNOW the truth - If God wants us to know the truth than there must be a way for us to do so. An unattainable truth is not something that the Lord would dangle before us. However, while it is comforting to realize that knowledge of the truth is attainable, how is it achieved?
The Need To Evangelize - Easily missed in St. Paul’s statement is the fact that God wants EVERYONE to be saved, not just Christians. Uh-oh, that means that once we figure out the truth, we have to share it with others! That statement puts an end to the “one religion is as good as another” and the “I can’t impose my personal beliefs on others” line of thinking, but it’s a duty that must be taken seriously. Once we find the truth that will lead to our salvation, why would we want to keep it to ourselves?
Now that we’ve learned that there is a truth and that God wants us to understand it, where do we go from here?
Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 3:15
He can use you!
I had the pleasure of being a lector at daily Mass this morning and got to read one of my favorite readings – Saul’s (a.k.a St. Paul) conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-20).
If you ever doubt that God can use you to accomplish His work, this story should make you think otherwise. Why God chose a notorious persecutor of Christians to proclaim His message to the Gentiles is beyond my comprehension, but that’s why He’s God and I’m not!
God saw something in Saul (Paul) and chose him to become the “Apostle to the Gentiles”. With the Lord’s help, St. Paul went on to be a great evangelist and apostle. This all happened because Paul said “yes” to the Lord’s call.
How can God use you to accomplish His work? That’s something you have to work out with the Lord, so I recommend you pray about it. You might end up being surprised by your mission. The Lord knows your talents better than you do and he may present an idea that never occurred to you before. Don’t worry, you’re in good company…
Saul never expected to be used as an apostle and he didn’t do too bad!