The letter of Saint Paul to Titus is a beautiful letter, showing all the fatherly and gentle care and affection that Saint Paul had for this disciple of his whom he ordained a bishop and ultimately made him the bishop of the Catholics on the island of Crete.
We can profitably meditate on the things that Saint Paul says to Titus. The last paragraph begins by saying, “The grace of God has appeared, saving all . . .” Let’s stop there for a moment. The grace of God, is of course Our Lord Jesus Christ who has come into the world to make atonement for human sins and reopen the gates of heaven which had been closed by the original sin of Adam and Eve. This is what salvation means. We are saved from the certainty of being alienated from God forever. We are made eligible once again to be with God eternally.
Then Saint Paul goes on: “Training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age . . .” The young church found itself preaching a beautiful way of virtuous, prayerful, upright life in the midst of the pagan Roman Empire where anything went in terms of spirituality and morality. It was a civilization much like the one into which our own is sliding as we more and more turn our backs upon God and live a secularized, godless existence, more and more rejecting the moral and spiritual principles of Christ.
Saint Paul continues, “. . . as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us . . . to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.” We are awaiting the coming of Christ. He will come for us individually at the moment of our death; he will come for us collectively at the end of time. And during this life which is that period of waiting, we must remember that by his precious blood, Jesus has cleansed us to be “a people of his own, eager to do what is good.”
When I hear words like this, I often wonder what it’s like to be a parent raising children in our world today, trying to persuade them to live according to the morality of the gospel, trying to teach these children and teenagers to be “eager to do what is good.” They have their work cut out for them, these parents of today, who must constantly combat peer pressure and television and the atrocious example of the idols whom young people today so often want to imitate, and drugs, and the sex revolution, and all the elements that lead human beings away from God into the ways of “having fun,” which is properly called hedonism and leads to so much grief. We were not made for fun alone; we were made for joy. There is a great difference. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago