LISTENTO: Anthony Brown & group therAPy "Worth" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX59fjowutw
September is my favorite month. Labor Day Week End, which falls at the beginning of September, is forever etched in my mind with preparations to go back to school: buying new clothes and school supplies, doctor visits, forms to fill ou t and readjusting schedules to get up in time for the school bus. Some kids dislike returning to the classroom and the tediousness of studying. Others look forward to it. I did, even with facing the typical challenges of “nerdy students”: always the last chosen for team sports in gym, being an easy prey for bullies, and typically eating alone the lunchroom. Still, I loved school. Or, I should say, I loved learning. I loved to master new skills whether it was using a dictionary or conjugating verbs. I reveled in new insights about history, geology or biology. I appreciated the struggle to master a subject – usually mathematics. To me , teachers were mystical beings who knew how to unlock mysteries, inspire curiosity and an awareness of the grandeur of the world.
As I opened my first assigned book in a course on spiritual direction this week, I appreciated once more that Jesus was a teacher. Yes, he was called Lord, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Master, but he was also called, Rabbi, teacher. Out of the 90 times Jesus is addressed in the Gospels, 60 times he is addressed as “teacher.” We are told that “the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Mt. 7:28-29). This is because Jesus taught with stories and parables, with images and themes that people could relate to. He addressed the needs of the people as he taught – so he often fed them, cared for them, went directly into their homes, and he often healed in the course of a lesson. We learn best through a personal encounter built on trust. So Jesus engaged people in the learning process about the Kingdom of God and the principles of a loving life. Great teachers are learners themselves . As such, Jesus invited people, even women, to dialogue and discipleship.
We are created to be learners. It is at the center of our faith and our spiritual practice. That means God is always showing us a new thing . God is daily te aching us . He sends us lessons through people and challeges, so that we can learn more deeply what it means to love sacrificially, to care, to be kind, to forgive, to show forbearance and tolerance. Teaching is also part of the task given by Jesus in his final instructions to his disciples in Matt. 28:18-20:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus sets the standard in teaching. So we simultaneously learn and teach the gospel through our living, our actio ns, and the choices we make. Jesus is not an ancient academic topic relegated to libraries and college seminars. Jesus is the divine living teacher, who today is capable of transforming our lives through his love and lessons.
What do we need to learn? Patience? Boldness? Self-control?Humility? Let us ask for the learning, and t rust that Jesus will instruct us and in turn make us the teachers of the way of Love.
Prayer: “Divine teacher, open me to learn. Help me see that the lessons you place in my life are there for spiritual growth and progress. Bless all teachers and students. Guide us all in the journey of learning through the days of our life. Amen.”
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK!