Pathways through Lent

Purification and Promise

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Deuteronomy 7:6-11 Psalms 37:1-18, 37:19-42 Titus 1:1-16 John 1:29-34

“To Titus, my true son in our common faith. Grace and Peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” (Titus 1:4)

One of the readings for today is a short epistle written by Paul to Titus whom Paul considered his spiritual son. Paul had converted Titus, formerly a gentile, and eventually they preached together in Crete where Titus stayed on to educate and organize the new converts after Paul had departed.

Paul commissioning Titus on Crete (image from http://www.imga.gr/apostolos_pavlos.htm)

It was certainly no easy task for Titus to initiate a program of Christian formation in Crete because the Cretans were “always liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons.” Paul detailed what Titus should and should not look for in choosing an elder: “He must be blameless and not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” Paul was continually preaching these radically novel ideas regarding character and behavior throughout the pagan, cruel, and hedonistic Roman Empire and even beyond.

He goes on to describe how followers of Christ, “with their upright and godly lives,” are waiting to meet Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

Lent presents us with a wonderful yearly opportunity to reflect on our relationship with Christ and to make improvements (to purify) in our lives. At the end of 40 days of contemplation and penance, we are reminded by the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter that we are forgiven our sins and saved by the grace of God. Paul reminds us of this in Titus. I don’t think that we can be reminded too many times of this awesome promise.

-Susan Tuke

En Español

A Tito, mi verdadero hijo en esta fe que compartimos:

Que Dios el padre y Cristo Jesús nuestro salvador te concedan gracia y paz. (Tito 1:4)

La lectura de hoy presenta una carta breve, escrita por Pablo a Tito, le cual consideraba Pablo un hijo. Pablo había convertido a Tito que anteriormente fue gentil. Los dos predicaron juntos en Creta y Tito quedó para educar y organizar a los convertidos después de que había salido Pablo.

No era fácil para Tito iniciar una programa de formación cristiana allí porque: {{Los cretenses son siempre mentirosos, malas bestias, glotones perezosos.}} Pablo le explicó a Tito detalladamente los requisitos de un anciano: {{…Por lo tanto debe ser intachable; no arrogante, ni iracundo, ni borracho, ni violento, ni codicioso de ganancias mal habidas. Al contrario, debe ser hospitalario, amigo del bien, sensato, justo, santo y disciplinado.}} Siempre Pablo predicaba estas ideas radicales nuevas con respecto al carácter y comportamiento en todo el imperio romano que fue pagano, cruel y hedonista.

Pablo continúa describiendo la manera de que los seguidores de Cristo (que viven en este mundo con justicia, piedad y dominio propio) esperan conocer al Salvador Jesucristo quien {{se entregó por nosotros para rescatarnos de toda maldad y purificar para sí un pueblo elegido, dedicado a hacer el bien.}}

La Cuaresma nos provee una oportunidad maravillosa anual de meditar sobre nuestra relación con Cristo y purificar nuestras vidas. Al final de cuarenta días de contemplación y penitencia, la celebración del muerte y resurrección de Cristo al Domingo de Pascua nos recuerda que somos perdonados y salvados por la gracia de Dios. De nuevo Pablo nos lo recuerda en Tito. Es imposible que cualquier persona nos puede recordar demasiado de esta promesa increíble.

-Susan Tuke

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