Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
“O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.” To be a disciple of Christ is to know him, follow him, learn from him and ultimately to be like him. For Jesus, every moment is a teachable moment. An opportunity to learn and to grow in the will and knowledge of God. Jesus freely and generously shared his thoughts, knowledge and heart with his disciples. He continues to do so with us. Jesus understands that not everyone absorbs instruction and knowledge in the same way or at the same rate. Our upbringing plays a key role in our development. It affects how we learn, how we teach, how we perceive, how we experience, how we understand. This is an important lesson for all teachers. To understand that not all the students start from the same page or the same place or from the same point of understanding. A good teacher understands their students, their abilities and their limitations, how they take in information, how they process it and how they learn. Jesus understood this. He used different methods of teaching the disciples in order to encourage and honor different styles of learning. At times, the disciples learned through listening while Jesus shared different prayers and beatitudes. At times, the disciples learned through the signs and wonders performed by Jesus. Other times, the disciples experienced mercy through healing. Other times, Jesus taught them through parables to engage the disciples’ imagination in order to contemplate and experience what the Kingdom of God may be like. Through these different styles of teaching and learning, Jesus re-enforced the most important lesson of them all – how to become and be loving, kind, compassionate, joyful, merciful, forgiving and charitable. He showed and taught the disciples how to be Christian. That is, how to be like Jesus. How to live as a beloved child of God. Some of the lessons were difficult to understand and needed to be repeated more than once like why was it necessary for Jesus to be mocked, rejected, beaten and killed then rise on the third day? God forbid they said. However, being the good, patient teacher that he was, Jesus helped the disciples to see, listen, experience, and imagine the importance of this lesson through repetition and through his Transfiguration. The disciples would come to learn, believe and understand without a doubt the depth of God’s love and the power of his glory that destroyed death, forgave sins and restored life simply because he loves us.