Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.
Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The proclamation of the kingdom of God
543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:
The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.
544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.
545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.
546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; cry out to the rock of our salvation.
Let us greet him with a song of praise, joyfully sing out our psalms.
For the LORD is the great God, the great king over all gods,
Whose hand holds the depths of the earth; who owns the tops of the mountains.
The sea and dry land belong to God, who made them, formed them by hand.
Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For this is our God, whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock. Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert.
There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works.
Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: “This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger: “They shall never enter my rest.”
Source: The New American Bible
Timothy (Greek: Τιμόθεος; Timótheos, meaning “honouring God” or “honoured by God” ) was an early Christian evangelist and the first first-century Christian bishop of Ephesus, who tradition relates died around the year AD 97.
Timothy was from the Lycaonian city of Lystra in Asia Minor, born of a Jewish mother who had become a Christian believer, and a Greek father. The Apostle Paul met him during his second missionary journey and he became Paul’s companion and co-worker along with Silas. The New Testament indicates that Timothy traveled with Saint Paul, who was also his mentor. Paul entrusted him with important assignments. He is addressed as the recipient of the First and Second Epistles to Timothy.
Timothy was a native of Lystra in Lycaonia (Anatolia). When Paul and Barnabas first visited Lystra, Paul healed one crippled from birth, leading many of the inhabitants to accept his teaching. When he returned a few years later with Silas, Timothy was already a respected member of the Christian congregation, as were his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, both Jews. In 2 Timothy 1:5, his mother and grandmother are noted as eminent for their piety and faith. Timothy is said to have been acquainted with the Scriptures since childhood. In 1 Corinthians 16:10 there is a suggestion that he was by nature reserved and timid: “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord”.
Timothy’s father was Greek, that is, not a Jew. Thus Timothy had not been circumcised and Paul now ensured that this was done, according to the text Acts 16:1–3, to ensure Timothy’s acceptability to the Jews whom they would be evangelizing. According to McGarvey: “Yet we see him in the case before us, circumcising Timothy with his own hand, and this ‘on account of certain Jews who were in those quarters'”. However, Acts 16:4 makes clear that this action did not compromise the decision made at the Council of Jerusalem, that gentile believers were not required to be circumcised.
Timothy became St Paul’s disciple, and later his constant companion and co-worker in preaching.In the year 52, Paul and Silas took Timothy along with them on their journey to Macedonia. Augustine extols his zeal and disinterestedness in immediately forsaking his country, his house, and his parents, to follow the apostle, to share in his poverty and sufferings. Timothy may have been subject to ill health or “frequent ailments”, and Paul encouraged him to “use a little wine for your stomach’s sake” (1 Timothy 5:23).
When Paul went on to Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed for some time at Beroea and Thessalonica before joining Paul at Corinth. Timothy next appears in Acts during Paul’s stay in Ephesus (54–57), and in late 56 or early 57 Paul sent him forth to Macedonia with the aim that he would eventually arrive at Corinth. Timothy arrived at Corinth just after 1 Corinthians reached that city. The letter was not well received, and Timothy quickly returned to Ephesus to report this to Paul.
Timothy was with Paul in Corinth during the winter of 57–58 when Paul dispatched his Letter to the Romans (Romans 16:21). According to Acts 20:3–6, Timothy was with Paul in Macedonia just before Passover in 58; he left the city before Paul, going ahead of him to await Paul in Troas (Acts 20:4–5). “That is the last mention of Timothy in Acts”, Raymond Brown notes. In the year 64, Paul left Timothy at Ephesus, to govern that church.
His relationship with Paul was close and Paul entrusted him with missions of great importance. Timothy’s name appears as the co-author on 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Paul wrote to the Philippians about Timothy, “I have no one like him” (Philippians 2:19–23). When Paul was in prison and awaiting martyrdom, he summoned his faithful friend Timothy for a last farewell.
That Timothy was jailed at least once during the period of the writing of the New Testament is implied by the writer of Hebrews mentioning Timothy’s release at the end of the epistle.
The apocryphal Acts of Timothy states that in the year 97, the 80-year-old bishop tried to halt a procession in honor of the goddess Diana by preaching the gospel. The angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets, and stoned him to death.
Timothy is venerated as an apostle, saint, and martyr by the Eastern Orthodox Church, with his feast day on 22 January. The General Roman Calendar venerates Timothy together with Titus by a memorial on 26 January, the day after the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. From the 13th century until 1969 the feast of Timothy (alone) was on 24 January, the day before that of the Conversion of Saint Paul. Along with Titus and Silas, Timothy is commemorated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church on 26 January. Timothy’s feast is kept by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod on 24 January.
In the 4th century, the relics of Timothy were transferred to Constantinople and placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles near the tombs of St Andrew and St Luke.
Timothy is the patron invoked against stomach and intestinal disorders.
Titus (/ˈtaɪtəs/; Greek: Τίτος) was an early Christian missionary and church leader, a companion and disciple of Paul the Apostle, mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles including the Epistle to Titus. He is believed to be a Gentile converted to Christianity by Paul and, according to tradition, he was consecrated as Bishop of the Island of Crete.
Titus brought a fundraising letter from Paul to Corinth, to collect for the poor in Jerusalem. Later, on Crete, Titus appointed presbyters (elders) in every city and remained there into his old age, dying in Gortyna, near the city of Candia (modern Heraklion).
Titus was a Greek, apparently from Antioch, who is said to have studied Greek philosophy and poetry in his early years. He seems to have been converted by Paul, whereupon he served as Paul’s secretary and interpreter. In the year 49, Titus accompanied Paul to the council held at Jerusalem, on the subject of the Mosaic rites. Although Paul had consented to the circumcision of Timothy, in order to render his ministry acceptable among the Jews, he would not allow the same in regard to Titus, so as not to seem in agreement with those who would require it for Gentile converts.
Towards the close of the year 56, Paul, as he himself departed from Asia, sent Titus from Ephesus to Corinth, with full commission to remedy the fallout precipitated by Timothy’s delivery of 1 Corinthians and Paul’s “Painful Visit”, particularly a significant personal offense and challenge to Paul’s authority by one unnamed individual. During this journey, Titus served as the courier for what is commonly known as the “Severe Letter”, a Pauline missive that has been lost but is referred to in 2 Corinthians.
After success on this mission, Titus journeyed north and met Paul in Macedonia. There the apostle, overjoyed by Titus’ success, wrote 2 Corinthians. Titus then returned to Corinth with a larger entourage, carrying 2 Corinthians with him. Paul joined Titus in Corinth later. From Corinth, Paul then sent Titus to organize the collections of alms for the Christians at Jerusalem. Titus was therefore a troubleshooter, peacemaker, administrator, and missionary.
Early church tradition holds that Paul, after his release from his first imprisonment in Rome, stopped at the island of Crete to preach. Due to the needs of other churches, requiring his presence elsewhere, he ordained his disciple Titus as bishop of that island, and left him to finish the work he had started. Chrysostom says that this is an indication of the esteem St. Paul held for Titus.
Paul summoned Titus from Crete to join him at Nicopolis in Epirus. Later, Titus traveled to Dalmatia. The New Testament does not record his death.
It has been argued that the name “Titus” in 2 Corinthians and Galatians is nothing more than an informal name used by Timothy, implied already by the fact that even though both are said to be long-term close companions of Paul, they never appear in common scenes. The theory proposes that a number of passages—1 Cor. 4:17, 16.10; 2 Cor. 2:13, 7:6, 13–14, 12:18; and Acts 19.22—all refer to the same journey of a single individual, Titus-Timothy. 2 Timothy seems to dispute this, by claiming that Titus has gone to Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10). The fact that Paul made a point of circumcising Timothy (Acts 16:3) but refused to circumcise Titus (Galatians 2:3) would indicate that they are different men, although certain manuscripts of Galatians (Galatians 2:4) have been taken (by Marius Victorinus, for example) to indicate that Paul did circumcise Titus.
The feast day of Titus was not included in the Tridentine Calendar. When added in 1854, it was assigned to 6 February. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church assigned the feast to 26 January so as to celebrate the two disciples of Paul, Titus and Timothy, the day after the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America celebrates these two, together with Silas, on the same date. The Orthodox Church commemorates him on 25 August and on 4 January.
His relics, now consisting of only his skull, are venerated in the Church of St. Titus, Heraklion, Crete, to which it was returned in 1966 after being removed to Venice during the Turkish occupation.
St. Titus is the patron saint of the United States Army Chaplain Corps. The Corps has established the Order of Titus Award, described by the Department of Defense:
Order of Titus award is the only award presented by the Chief of Chaplains to recognize outstanding performance of ministry by chaplains and chaplain assistants. The Order of Titus is awarded for meritorious contributions to the unique and highly visible Unit Ministry Team Observer Controller Program. The award recognizes the great importance of realistic, doctrinally guided combat ministry training in ensuring the delivery of prevailing religious support to the American Soldier.