After reading the Gospel for today, I told my husband, “Now I know why they called Jesus ‘Teacher’. This reading feels like a day in my life!”
Now hear me out–I’m not saying that by being a teacher I’m somehow privy to Christ’s inner life. Nor am I saying that Jesus was “just a teacher”. But I do understand Jesus’ words to the crowds. Just the other day I gave my students (high schoolers) a homework assignment and all those who completed the assignment thoroughly, which was everyone, received a 10/10. When I told them it was a participation grade they grumbled and said, “But Mrs. Pesce, we worked so hard on it and found the right answers and the right answers didn’t even matter!” So, because of their valid complaints, the next assignment I graded based on how many questions the students answered correctly. Needless to say, there were not as many 100% marks. When they received their grades, my students grumbled and said, “But Mrs. Pesce, the homework was sooooo hard. Can’t you just give us participation points because we did the assignment?”
We, like children, do the same with Christ. It seems as though we are never satisfied. How many of us have asked for “signs” from Christ that we are doing the right things with our life? That our career is the “right one”? The right one for us to be making a difference in the world, the right one for our families, the right one to make us a happy person, the right one to help get us to Heaven. Then, when we receive that “sign” that yes, we are doing the right things with our life, we are not satisfied. Why? Because Christ told us, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (MT 16:24) and doing that is not easy. Carrying a cross, suffering patiently, denying ourselves is not the “sign” we want from Christ.
After Christ tells the crowds of their hypocrisy He says, “But wisdom is vindicated by all her children”. Didn’t He just reprimand us for acting like children? I think we need to read that passage with an emphasis on the word “all”….But wisdom is vindicated by all her children. When we act alone, when we feel alone, when we put our trust in ourselves and no one else, we stray from God and we are left unsatisfied. But it is the Church, the beautiful, mystical Body of Christ that will get us to Heaven. It is all the children of wisdom, through prayer and sacrifice, that will journey with us to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO is studying for her Master’s in Spanish, and loves her job as an elementary school librarian. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.