2 Readings on the Importance of The Church Structure: Bishops, Priests, Deacons

The readings below are taken from today’s http://www.divineoffice.org Office of Readings. First is the Apostle St. Paul’s letter to Timothy which appears in our Bibles – New Testament Scripture. Timothy came under the tutelage of St. Paul as his beloved “son”. Timothy was ordained bishop.

The second reading does not appear in Scripture but comes from one of my favorite saints and an early Christian father, St, Ignatius of Antioch. Antioch is in Syria and was the first town the early followers of Jesus were called Christians. This letter was written around the year 100 AD.

Read both carefully and prayerfully in the spirit of Lectio Divino, and allow God to speak to your heart and mind through it!


From the first letter of the apostle Paul to Timothy
Concerning the ministers of the Church

You can depend on this: whoever wants to be a bishop aspires to a noble task. A bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, of even temper, self-controlled, modest, and hospitable. He should be a good teacher. He must not be addicted to drink. He ought not to be contentious but, rather, gentle, a man of peace. Nor can he be someone who loves money. He must be a good manager of his own household, keeping his children under control without sacrificing his dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own house, how can he take care of the church of God? He should not be a new convert, lest he become conceited and thus incur the punishment once meted out to the devil. He must also be well thought of by those outside the church, to ensure that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.

In the same way, deacons must be serious, straightforward, and truthful. They may not overindulge in drink or give in to greed. They must hold fast to the divinely revealed faith with a clear conscience. They should be put on probation first; then, if there is nothing against them, they may serve as deacons. The women, similarly, should be serious, not slanderous gossips. They should be temperate and entirely trustworthy. Deacons may be married but once and must be good managers of their children and their households. Those who serve well as deacons gain a worthy place for themselves and much assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Although I hope to visit you soon, I am writing you about these matters so that if I should be delayed you will know what kind of conduct befits a member of God’s household, the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth. Wonderful, indeed, is the mystery of our faith, as we say in professing it:

“He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the Spirit;
Seen by the angels;
preached among the Gentiles,
Believed in throughout the world,
taken up into glory.”

RESPONSORY See Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 4:2

You must have at heart every member of the flock, for the Holy Spirit has made you their shepherds.
— You must rule over the Church of God which he has made his own through the blood of his Son.

The great quality of a steward is to be faithful to his duty.
— You must rule over the Church of God which he has made his own through the blood of his Son.

Second reading
From the beginning of a letter to the Trallians by Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr
I wish to forewarn you, for you are my dearest children

Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the holy church at Tralles in the province of Asia, dear to God the Father of Jesus Christ, elect and worthy of God, enjoying peace in body and in the Spirit through the passion of Jesus Christ, who is our hope through our resurrection when we rise to him. In the manner of the apostles, I too send greetings to you with the fullness of grace and extend my every best wish.

Reports of your splendid character have reached me: how you are beyond reproach and ever unshaken in your patient endurance—qualities that you have not acquired but are yours by nature. My informant was your own bishop Polybius, who by the will of God and Jesus Christ visited me here in Smyrna. He so fully entered into my joy at being in chains for Christ that I came to see your whole community embodied in him. Moreover, when I learned from him of your God-given kindliness toward me, I broke out in words of praise for God. It is on him, I discovered, that you pattern your lives.

Your submission to your bishop, who is in the place of Jesus Christ, shows me that you are not living as men usually do but in the manner of Jesus himself, who died for us that you might escape death by belief in his death. Thus one thing is necessary, and you already observe it, that you do nothing without your bishop; indeed, be subject to the clergy as well, seeing in them the apostles of Jesus Christ our hope, for if we live in him we shall be found in him.

Deacons, too, who are ministers of the mysteries of Jesus should in all things be pleasing to all men. For they are not mere servants with food and drink, but emissaries of God’s Church; hence they should guard themselves against anything deserving reproach as they would against fire.

Similarly, all should respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, just as all should regard the bishop as the image of the Father, and the clergy as God’s senate and the college of the apostles. Without these three orders you cannot begin to speak of a church. I am confident that you share my feelings in this matter, for I have had an example of your love in the person of your bishop who is with me now. His whole bearing is a great lesson, and his very gentleness wields a mighty influence.

By God’s grace there are many things I understand, but I keep well within my limitations for fear that boasting should be my undoing. At the moment, then, I must be more apprehensive than ever and pay no attention at all to those who flatter me; their praise is as a scourge. For though I have a fierce desire to suffer martyrdom, I know not whether I am worthy of it. Most people are unaware of my passionate longing, but it assails me with increasing intensity. My present need, then, is for that humility by which the prince of this world is overthrown.

And so I strongly urge you, not I so much as the love of Jesus Christ, to be nourished exclusively on Christian fare, abstaining from the alien food that is heresy. And this you will do if you are neither arrogant nor cut off from God, from Jesus Christ, and from the bishop and the teachings of the apostles. Whoever is within the sanctuary is pure; but whoever is not is unclean. That is to say, whoever acts apart from the bishop and the clergy and the deacons is not pure in his conscience. In writing this, it is not that I am aware of anything of the sort among you; I only wish to forewarn you, for you are my dearest children.

RESPONSORY Ephesians 4:3-6; 1 Corinthians 3:11

Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through a peace that binds you together. There is but one body, one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope when you were called.
— There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

No one can lay a foundation other than the one which has been laid, that is, Christ Jesus.
— There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.


Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires
of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
— Amen.

ACCLAMATION (only added when praying in community)

Let us praise the Lord.
— And give him thanks.

Happy Birthday MOM! Love you!!!

2 thoughts on “2 Readings on the Importance of The Church Structure: Bishops, Priests, Deacons

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