Today we celebrate Saints Timothy and Titus, the two co-workers of St Paul. In the Office of Readings, there is a homily of St John Chrysostom that looks back at yesterday’s celebration of the Conversion of St Paul (superseded this year by the Sunday Liturgy). In it he reflects on St Paul’s sufferings for the sake of the gospel and its motivation.
Though housed in a narrow prison, Paul dwelt in heaven. He accepted beatings and wounds more readily than others reach out for rewards. Sufferings he loved as much as prizes; indeed he regarded them as his prizes, and therefore called them a grace or gift. Reflect on what this means. To depart and be with Christ was certainly a reward, while remaining in the flesh [here on earth] meant struggle. Yet such was his longing for Christ that he wanted to defer his reward and remain amid the fight; those were his priorities.
The message for us is that we too should live wholly for Christ like St Paul and keep our focus on our journey’s end in the heavenly kingdom. Thus we will be sustained in all the intervening trials of life.