Jesus Christ was a teacher, but also much more than a teacher; he is the God-man. At various times in the gospels, his interlocutors address him as “Rabbi,” which means “teacher.” (John 1:38; 20:16; et. al.) He chose to teach in parables. A large part of his message is that God is a loving Father. We have a beautiful illustration of that in this weekend’s parable! The son leaves his father. When he comes to his senses, the father receives him back even though the son had hurt him so. Jesus is showing us the heavenly Father in general. It is also an image of what happens in a particular way at every time we come to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and confess our sins to God.
The parable of the lost sheep is dear to my heart. It is the image and verse that I used on the card commemorating my ordination to the priesthood nine years and four months ago.
This weekend we celebrate the teachers who today are members of our parish community. The theme for catechetical Sunday is “Stay with Us”, a reference to the disciples plea to Jesus after walking the road to Emmaus. It reminds us that Jesus is still the greatest teacher and much of our job is pointing to him. First of all, I want to recognize the parishioners who are teachers or aides in our Sunday morning PREP classes. Along with it, I recognize the work of the excellent teachers in both our schools: St. Peter in Chains School and St. Joseph Consolidated School. Those who teach in the public schools who are informed by Christ’s example and conformed to him through the Sacraments serve the Church as well as their school. Our youth ministry volunteers also share in this work. I cannot neglect the many parents who are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith – as they heard at their child’s baptism. Wow that’s a lot of teaching! Your role in forming our youth is invaluable! However, we could probably do more in educating our adults. There will be a blessing for all teachers after the homily at all Masses in the region this weekend.
What a joy to know, love, and serve the good God.