In this part of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, we encounter the loneliness that Paul was feeling after Demas took off to explore Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus went off to Dalmatia. Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus. He was hoping that Timothy and Mark would go to join him and Luke as they continued their mission.

I am intrigued by the very mundane elements of this part of Paul’s letter. He asks Timothy to pick up a cloak that he left behind as well as to bring some papyrus rolls and parchments. He also complains about the way he was treated by a coppersmith named Alexander.

These few lines remind us that, in reality, the Apostles and early Christians were very much human, just as we are; that they could be lonely, forgetful, and even a bit sensitive at times.  They weren’t perfect and they weren’t other-worldly. If they were, we couldn’t hope to be like them.

But we are called to be like them; we are called to be like the seventy-two that Jesus sends out on mission in today’s Gospel passage; we are called to be people who have to navigate our own world with all of its enticements and still find a way to experience our faith, to live it out, and to bring it to others. We may not be called to do it in such a dramatic fashion as those seventy-two disciples, but there are elements of their mission that we are called to both emulate and imitate.

Let us pray for the ability to discern the ways that God is calling on us to be His voice in our world today and may the example of those fully human early disciples give us the inspiration that we need to follow God’s call for us to go forth and to preach in His name. +

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