Table of Contents
It’s not just a bishop
These readings we’ve been getting from Paul to Timothy are really about the right order of the church and of authority. Yesterday we heard about the need to pray for those who are in public office, for those who serve us.
Today, the focus is on the structure and governance of the church, particularly on the office of bishop. Now, we know historically that the office of Bishop in this particular time was not like it is today. It would be much more akin to being a pastor of one church, hence the expression with dioceses and archdioceses of the local church.
But the qualities that are listed are good qualities for any of us. Listen again how it is that St. Paul describes the office of Bishop for the one who is needing to be there. Irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. Those are rather interesting and kind of total qualities for any Christian. We could change ability to teach to ability to share our faith because that is such an important task in this particular day and age.
We know, though, both in civil government and in the church, leaders do not always live up to this ideal. They fall short. And Paul mentions that as well, that when those things happen, the devil gets a little bit of a foothold. Because people begin to wonder, well, if the bishops can’t live this way, if the civil leaders can’t live this way, what’s the point of our church or our state?
But the point is made clear in the Gospel. This poor widow is losing her son and probably her source of livelihood. She obviously was mourning in such a way that Jesus saw something in her heart that moved him with pity. and he raised this man from the dead. Because that’s what our faith promises us. That we too, when we are touched by Jesus, will be raised from the dead.
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