In today’s First Reading Paul encourages Timothy to stoke up the fire he received through ordination, a gift to enable him to fulfill his vocation. As Paul reminds us, Christ saved us and called us to a holy life, and that desire stemmed not from something we earned, but from his saving designs and the gift of his grace. Paul is speaking not only to his colleague, but to his successor; in prison it is easy to see the day when someone else has to take up your work, and Timothy would be understandably concerned if his friend and mentor was imprisoned and the work of spreading the Gospel was left to him. Yet it would be soon, and Paul encourages Timothy to not let his concerns defeat him, but instead to stoke up the fire of love that conquers all in order to embolden him in his noble calling and mission.
Our Lord calls us all to help him spread his Good News, each according to his condition or state of life. This is not something we do out of a strained sense of obligation, a narrow-minded attitude reflected in the limited understanding of marriage and its obligations that the Sadducees try to present today to Jesus as a problem discrediting the possibility of the Resurrection. Rather, it is something that stems from the new life that we have received in Christ. We may not all be called to be priests, but we are all called to stoke up the fire of the gifts we’ve received from Our Lord in order to share the Gospel with zeal and enthusiasm.
If you consider the gifts you’ve received from God to just be obligations piled upon more obligations, ask Our Lord today to stoke up in you the fire of his love so that you see a life of holiness and evangelization as a mission, not just a burden. It will pave the way for an unexpected joy.