Paul and Titus had apparently been on a missionary journey to Crete, a large island south of Greece. Paul decided to leave Titus in Crete to accomplish "what had been left undone" (Ti 1:5), which apparently was quite a lot. The people of Crete, as one of their own prophets testified, "have ever been liars, beasts, and lazy gluttons" (Ti 1:12). With a reputation like that, it's likely that Paul didn't get many resumes from young pastors applying for the position at Crete!
Titus had a huge task ahead of him. He had to admonish people sharply, in an attempt to keep them close to sound faith (Ti 1:13). He had to teach Christian behavior to young and old, men and women — in a real sense, to change their lifestyle from pagan to Christian (Ti 2:2-9) by very practical instruction (Ti 3:1-2, 14). It's likely that Titus received a lot of backlash in this ministry.
How did Titus ever handle this ministry to "disgusting" (Ti 1:16) beasts? Titus had the heart of a pastor. As on his earlier ministry to Corinth, God put zeal for the people of Crete into his heart (see 2 Cor 8:16). Thus, not only was Titus eager to go to Crete, but he went freely (cf 2 Cor 8:17). As Titus' heart embraced the Corinthians, a disgusting lot in their own right, "with an expanding love" (2 Cor 7:15), so his heart embraced the Cretans.
Whatever your vocation, God has given you a flock to pastor. Be a Titus. Give your heart to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Receive a great heart of love for your flock, "and more besides" (Mk 4:24).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 2011.