Today Sister and I traveled to the Benedict Center in Schyler for a retreat day. The presenter led us through various scriptures from the Gospel of Mark, prompting us to look for what we learn about Jesus and Jesus' ministry as teacher as well as what we can apply to our own ministries as teachers, directors of religious education, or catechists. There were many beautiful reflections on the Gospel readings throughout the day. However, two of my own will need some further reflection and application in my teaching.
The Mark's Gospel retelling the Temptation of Christ in the desert after His baptism (Mark 1: 12-13) is a story I had read many times. Today, I noticed the final line about the 'wild beasts' and the 'ministering angels' and found it interesting that they were listed in the same sentence. Then the challenge rose to the surface of this quiet time...during struggles in the classroom, do I choose to see my students as the 'wild beasts' or 'ministering angels'?
I thought this was enough challenge for the day; however, the presenter's next Gospel assignment continued to call me to growth. Mark's few verses on the initial call of the disciples (1: 16-20) has been used as a vocation reflection for years, but a reflection for teachers? Yup. Jesus looked past the rough exterior of these fishermen and saw their hearts filled with possibility. By calling them to discipleship, he challenged how they saw themselves. This call to look deeper is also mine as a teacher. No matter the coursework I teach, I need to continue to challenge my students to see their own possibility, to strive for who they could be. To do this well, I have to look past the goofy, gangley, occasionally ornery exterior of my own students to encourage what gifts might be.
Jesus has given quite enough homework material to keep me 'growing' for a while.