In an academic setting the quality of teachers and teaching is very, very important. We work hard to identify good teachers and schools compete for their services. We encourage all teachers to become the best that they can. We praise and reward good teachers.
In today’s gospel reading we see Jesus as teacher and our attention
is drawn to teaching. Just as the job of a teacher is often a very
difficult one today, so our Lord’s teaching job was a difficult one.
His pupils, the disciples, were mostly mature men and women long past their
childhood. Most of them had not had much formal schooling. They
were not ideal pupils and teaching them was not always easy. There
was no classroom and there was none of our modern teaching equipment and
technology. The teaching of Jesus was done in the open air and subject
to many distractions for the pupils. The teaching was often done, as
here, while the group traveled on foot. Such obstacles were frustrating
for Jesus. He sometimes expressed his frustration with his pupils,
especially with their slow progress in acquiring the virtue of faith.
In spite of these difficulties, Jesus continued his teaching.
Even without a proper classroom and equipment, and even in spite of his pupils
fearing to ask questions, he kept to his task. Jesus had the characteristics
of a good teacher. He excelled in patience and kept repeating the most
important lessons that he wanted his disciples to learn. He also made
good use of parables and stories to explain the meaning of his teaching.
Gradually the disciples came to learn and understand the important lessons
that Jesus wanted to teach them.
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