Teach Me to Teach, Jesus- “Jesus with skin on”

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1: 14-15

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee.  Before He starts, however, John the Baptist is arrested for his “outlandish” prophesies and proclamation of repentance.  How very strange that, after John’s arrest, Jesus travels on and continues the same gospel message of repentance.  Where John left off, Jesus continues on.

On our first day of school, we made the connection with John the Baptist in that we were given the task to “make straight Jesus’ paths,” and “prepare the way of the Lord.”  We then retreated to the desert of ourselves and looked deep inside to prepare the way of the Lord into not only our hearts, but the hearts of our students as well.

Today, following the example of John the Baptist, we sacrifice ourselves for the Lord’s sake and allow Him to pick up where we left off.  From this moment on, although we are present in the classroom, it is Jesus who will guide our souls in every decision we make if we allow Him to do so.  We must abandon our own plans and trust in His.

Allow the following story to illustrate.

Once day, a mother took her child by the hand and led her into her room.  The child was both excited and afraid to find that, in the place of her old crib, there was a new bed with covers decorated with beams of sunshine and clouds.  Her mother told her that she was a big girl now and that she would not need a crib.  Tonight, this little girl would sleep in her big-girl bed.

After tucking her daughter in, the mother walked halfway down the hall and waited.  Knowing her daughter, she suspected that she might have difficulty falling asleep in her big-girl bed.  Sure enough, no more than 5 minutes later, her daughter called for her mother.

“Mommy?  I’m scared.”

The mother did not want to intervene.  She wanted to instill on her daughter a great faith in God rather than a great faith in her mother.  So she replied, “It is fine, honey.  Ask Jesus to protect you.  Do not be afraid.”

Her daughter did not speak for a while.  The mother felt that her solution had worked and that her daughter had truly put her faith in Jesus to protect her.  A few minutes later, however, the voice of her daughter came calling out once again.

“Mommy, I’m scared.”

The mother once again replied, “Don’t be afraid, honey.  Ask Jesus to protect you.”

This time, the daughter answered without hesitation, “Mommy, I already did.  But I need Jesus with skin on!”

With great humility, the mother walked back into her daughter’s room and sat next to her daughter.  She then hugged her until she fell asleep in her arms.  While she lay there, she reflected on how honored she was to be “Jesus with skin on” for her daughter.    

In our classrooms today, let’s imitate the example of Jesus.  Let’s be “Jesus with skin on” for our students.  Let’s lead by example, with integrity, justice and most importantly with great love.  There is no better way to teach the Gospel.

 

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Hey Dad,

Hey Dad,

I know you read about Mom during Mother’s day, and I thought I’d write something for you on Father’s day, but for some reason or another, writing about you is near impossible.  Why?  Let me put it this way:

If God is an artist (and He is), then His masterpiece is humanity.  Since we are made in His image and likeness, we are reflections of Him which makes us perfect (in principle), right?

Well, suppose each sin we commit makes us less perfect (which they do).  We start distorting ourselves to look more original, more “like us” so to speak.  Adam and Eve covered themselves with leaves behind a tree and at the climax of human existence, Jesus came and was nailed naked in front of another tree to make up for all of those sins that our original parents (and their kids) committed.

So now, we are forced to go through life as sojourners looking for the shards of this cross and the light that they produce so that we too might share in the pains and sufferings of salvation.  We imitate Christ first by imitating those who we recognize to be most like Him, those who have taken the pains and burdens of their lives and turned them into glorious works of art, masterpieces if you will.

Pop, you have taken on five crosses that bear your (and mom’s) DNA and turned them into masterpieces.  What you created with the shards of wood under your care was brilliantly crafted by your gentle affection, humble common sense, and constant patience.  Wiping the sweat from your brow, the sawdust of your fatherhood has constructed our family into the foundation of love of which you are the common nail and Christ the foundation.  I love you like I love Christ, but it wasn’t until I recognized the intense reflection of Christ within you that I even understood what love was.  It is a paradox, but without you, my supreme Christ with skin on, I would never have met Him.

So why is it so hard to write about you?  Well, frankly, for me to write about you is like a painting trying to complement its artist.  Words wouldn’t do you justice and so, I’m left to live my life imitating Christ by imitating you.

Happy father’s day pop, I pray to our Father that I might be as good a father to my children as He is to us and as you have been to us.