Today begins a new exercise I’d like you to join me in. I love teaching and I know many of you do too. Whether you are homeschooling your children, teaching catechism at your parish, or educating the future of the world in your private or public school classrooms, you’ll want to check back here every Thursday.
Each week, to celebrate the Luminous mysteries of the Holy Rosary (which I consider to correlate most with the educator’s vocation. Think about it… Proclamation of the Kingdom, Transfiguration, light bulbs turning on over the Apostles and our students’ heads…), I will publish one of Jesus’ teaching strategies for us educators to use in our classrooms and homes. I’m dubbing it “Teach Me to Teach, Jesus”.
The Joyful Beginning
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God].
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.'”
John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”
Mark 1: 1-8
Today is our first day of the school year and we will surely be anxious to meet our students and begin our planning. Today’s gospel reminds us of two specific things that go hand-in-hand with our excitement:
- Teaching can be done effectively just as John was able to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins with some success.
- Teaching can be done more effectively with the help of the holy Spirit who uses us as an instrument to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” takes full precedent on this day, which marks the beginning of our vocation as “Teacher.” Today, we not only are teachers of worldly subject matter, but we also become God’s servants who have been sent to prepare His way, just like John the Baptist, and to preach the Gospel message, just like Jesus Christ.
Our first step is to be joyful for the arrival of our students and even more joyful for the arrival of holy Spirit into our classrooms. When these are mixed with the willingness of a Christian teacher, miracles are sure to happen.