2 TIMOTHY3:10-17 ; MARK 12:35-37

At the time Saint Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy his mood has changed markedly from that expressed in his First Epistle to the same disciple.   Whereas he was quite optimistic in the earlier work, he was confident he would soon be free to engage anew in his travels for spreading the Gospel.   At the time of this Second Letter, however, he realizes he will soon be put to death.   He states this clearly at the end of this Letter where he warns his disciple that he will soon be put to death.   (4:6).   The Latin text puts it strikingly: "I am already being poured out; the time of my death is at hand."

This awareness on Paul's part gives added significance to the words of today's reading.   For Timothy will soon be called upon to carry on the work of preaching he has been taught largely by Paul himself.   "Remain faithful what you have learned", Paul urges him, "for you know from whom you learned it."   As this passage come to an end we too are reminded, as is Timothy, that "all Scripture is inspired by God" and are a source of that wisdom that leads to salvation.   Saint Benedict was convinced of this truth and provided for the prayerful reading of God's word.

The brief Gospel text from Saint Mark pictures Jesus as he criticized the scribes inadequacy in their treatment of the Scriptures.   Our Lord's manner of explaining the text and showing up those who mishandled it won over the large crowd of persons who listened to him in the temple area.   Surely it was not only his message that won their approval but also his manner.   The deep understanding his words revealed was enhanced by his personal manner of relating to them.   As we confront his teachings day by day, we are led to strengthen our confident faith that this man Jesus is truly the Son of God.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger