With the readings not furnishing me with a homily topic, I began foraging for ideas, and that had me wondering if the “Letter To Timothy” reminded me of any noteworthy Timothys.
The first three Timothys who came to my mind were Timothy O’Sullivan, Tim Broderick and Tim Connolly.
Timmy O’Sullivan, my high school classmate, was a sweet boy who was hopeless at studies. When we were doing Chemistry experiments together, Timmy, unable to follow our workbook, amused himself by taking a stick of Yellow Phosphorous, and smashing it in an empty matchbox. He was sitting at a soda counter after school when the thing blew up in his pocket, damaging both his right hand, and the coat of a lady sitting next to him.
Tim Broderick, at ninety, is a retired New York policeman. Along with sons who are most proud of him, Tim has countless people treasuring his friendship.
Tim Connolly was one of my superiors in the Columban Fathers. Whenever I saw him taking an after-dinner walk, I joined those with him. He always let on that he was a nobody, but he had a practical insight into anything that came up. Like one evening the group was asking why railroads were going bankrupt, and Father Connolly observed that they were the only transports who had to maintain their own roads. It hadn’t taken genius to see that, but I hadn’t seen it.
In later years I heard older priests saying I reminded them of Tim Connolly, and I was proud of that. But, on a trip to Ireland in 1979 when I stopped by the priests’ retirement house I had to ask about an old priest sitting with a glass in his hand. Someone told me, “Why that’s Tim Connolly,” and that has made me very aware of how the drink can take away a man’s very sharp wit.