Christ, our perfect teacher, in this Great Commission, calls us to be teachers after his own mind and heart: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Emulating his great example, to be effective teachers of the Gospel, we must:
- T – take TIME out with God
“Every Christian needs a half-hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy, then he needs an hour.” – St Francis de Sales
The Bible tells us Jesus always went off to a lonely place to pray, which meant for Christ, personal me-time spent in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And just to rest – Jesus must have been so tired to be able to sleep soundly, even in a storm! We too need to find the time to draw strength from receiving Jesus Himself in Holy Communion, in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, contemplating God’s glory in creation or just by simply being instead of doing. “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
- E – EDUCATE ourselves of the Bible and the Church’s teachings so as to be inspired and equipped to impart the same to others.
“Education is not the filling of a vessel but the igniting of a fire.” – Plutarch
It only takes a spark to get the fire going, but we can’t give what we don’t have. We send our children for tuition and enrichment classes but we need to upgrade our souls too. There are many programmes offered by the Archdiocese and parishes, and many others online – all these are treasure chests of the faith waiting for us to open them.
- A – teach with AUTHORITY.
The root of the word “authority” is the Latin “augere” which means not to impose one’s will or command because one is in a greater position of power, but to develop an inherent potential, and to be recognised and respected by others in the process. No wonder “people were astounded at Christ’s teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:22) The scribes may have filled vessels with knowledge of the Law, but Jesus ignited fires with the power of His Love.
- C – carry our CROSS.
St Paul reveals to us the source of Christ’s authority: “We are preaching a CRUCIFIED CHRIST… who is both the power of God and the wisdom of God… God’s folly is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Consider how you were called; not many of you are wise by human standards, not many influential, not many from noble families. No, God chose those who by human standards are fools to shame the wise; he chose those who by human standards are weak to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-27) When we are weakened by low self-esteem, physical exhaustion, spiritual dryness and world-weariness, we can surrender ourselves before the CRUCIFIX and plug into His power to be recharged with greater COMPASSION and CHARITY. For Christ, our perfect Teacher, his ministry was a CALLING. The mercy and the love of God are at the heart of every vocation, be it teacher, catechist, parent, spouse, child, sibling or friend. It is no wonder that the letter C is at the heart of the word TEACHER.
- H – learn HUMILITY by having the courage to admit that we make mistakes and need to make amends, or that we don’t know everything and need help.
“You have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who raises himself up will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.” (Matthew 23:10). We need to crucify our pride and egos to resurrect our human dignity for this what Christ asks of us. “You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:13-15)
- E – rediscover our ENTHUSIASM.
“Enthusiasm” comes from the Greek “entheos” (having a god within). We are already temples of the Holy Spirit, but the Word of God reproaches us: “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4,5) If only we allow the Lord to re-infuse us with the passion of our first conversion experience or the joy of our first personal encounter with Him, how much more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) we might have!
- R – remain RESOLUTE on our mission as teachers and witnesses of the Good News.
We have been assured: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
So there we have it – what we need to be a TEACHER in fulfilment of the Master’s Great Commission. BUT…. we need one last thing:
- S – SOLIDARITY as co-workers in His vineyard where the labourers are so few, but the harvest is so plentiful.
So as we celebrate Teachers’ Day, let us also enter into a deeper communion – common union – with each other, as we work together for our common good and that of our society. Let us support and encourage one another in our faith and good works to be the best TEACHERS we can be, and make Christ our perfect Teacher proud!