“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6
Being a teacher differs in respect to the dynamics of the classroom environment and students themselves. From an early age, the strict teacher is one whom we hate and the not-so-strict or so to speak, becomes the favorite of many. Yet, as we grow older, we stand in abrupt awe, to understand that our comprehension of
the world has stemmed from their rooted guidance.
On the 31st of January, in conjunction with Catechetical Sunday, as we catechism teachers stand at the altar, reciting our vows, in front of an expectant crowd of students and their parents, the feeling of excitement can’t help to be coupled with the slightest form of anxiety. Would I be a good teacher? Would I be hated? Would I do a good job? Can I firmly grasp the word of God and pass the message across the classroom?
Father Clarence celebrated the mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd, with a precise way of explaining the gift of teaching. Jesus was referred to as a prophet, and most people who saw him grow up, did not believe him. In his hometown, it was the familiarity of knowing him grow from a child to an adult which caused the main hindrance to manifest in most people. He was persecuted and oppressed mainly because of the familiarity amongst the people who saw him grow up.
The homily presented, stroke a chord in most of us, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’. The prophecy made thousands of years ago is being fulfilled as of now, yet the wonder and awe that is supposed to accompany it, has become but a weekly routine to the most of us. Our hearts are not touched for we are accustomed to the act of taking what is familiar to us for granted. It is then, no different than what the Pharisees once did to Jesus. He was persecuted because they could not believe that the Son of God was just a simple man walking amongst them. When we fail to see, feel and experience Christ, do we not fail just the same?
The Gospel is a constant reminder that our own familiarity with our religion can be an obstacle in drawing us closer to God. We take the Eucharist for granted, when it is in fact the source of our lives, the most powerful encounter we could have with Jesus.
This is the mission of teachers of faith. We have been blessed with the privilege of sharing that wonder and awe with the children of the church. As we continue to share, we will continue to be amazed ourselves, in awe of our Lord. As teachers, we stood before the altar and a congregation to implore for us, to pray that our guidance will nurture the religious seeds planted in our dear children, a spiritual seed trampled by earthly desires and worldly influences. We took an oath to break the barricades blocking us from passing the message. We pray that as teachers, we can send an embodiment of the word of God, passed on through words and activities which can firmly grasp a stronghold of messages for our children to carry on to the future.
In line with the celebration, the children of GSC joined in and played their part to bring the Sunday to life. The mass was serenaded by the Cherubims; our very own children’s choir. The offertory was done by the primary kids, from as young as five years of age to twelve years old, walking towards the altar bearing gifts with smiles on their faces. The secondary school students animated the mass by doing the readings and did an excellent job as the wardens. In class, activities were lined up for the kids. The primary kids had a handicraft session, with messages of God’s mercy, while the secondary kids had a couple rounds of charade to bring the bond of teachers and students a little closer.
It was amazing that the children understood the meaning of the Catechetical Ministry; they recognized that they are also part of the ministry. The Catechetical Ministry is there for anyone who wishes to learn more about God, and we the catechists are forever willing to journey along with each and every individual, because as we hold your hand, we grow closer to God with you.