December 11, 2020
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 185

Isaiah 48:17-19
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
Matthew 11:16-19

Praying Advent Home Page

Becoming John the Baptist
- Preparing the Way for Jesus

A Video of a talk by Maureen Waldron:
The Season of Waiting
- Our God Who Is Waiting for us

My students have final tests and papers due and I’m reading them and making out final grades. Some of the papers are very good, but not all of them. I know they won’t all be happy with their grades, and I feel bad about the situation. I think they should have read the text, they should have paid attention to the lecture, and they should have looked at the syllabus. But some of them didn’t, and their grades will reflect that. If only they’d read the text more carefully, if they’d listened and taken notes on the class discussion, they would have understood the concept. I try to teach them the concepts they will need. I show them where to find the information. I want them to understand the readings. I want them to learn the information. I want them to get good grades. But I can’t make them. I can’t cram the information into their heads. They make their own choices about whether to attend class, how much to study, whether to do their homework. If only they would listen to me, they would have better success in class.

The readings for today put me in the mind of my students who didn’t study enough. The Lord says he wants to teach us for our own good. He wants to lead us in the right way. He says to the people, “I… teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river.” God teaches us the right way, gives us the commandments and the path to follow. He wants us to prosper, wants us to learn. If we follow the right path, our success will be assured. If we follow God we will be like the tall healthy tree, but if we don’t we will be like the chaff. In the Gospel Jesus reiterates that the foundation is given us, but we have to accept it. We are given the joyful music, but we have to dance. My students are given the syllabus, but they have to do their homework. We have to follow God’s teaching. But he can’t physically make us. If we do follow God’s teaching we will have the spiritual life we should, and we will have our reward in heaven.

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