The Gospel of Matthew:
He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'
This is one of my favorite Gospel passages because it speaks to me as an educator who witnesses Jesus Christ in the children I work with each day. The Gospel of Matthew calls each of us clearly to take on an heir of humility—a simple yet profound message. Fittingly, this is the Gospel of the Feast Day of St. John Baptist de La Salle, Patron Saint of Teachers and Founder of the Christian Brothers. It speaks to the clarity of the vision of our Founder--a vision rooted in the innocence of the child and the inviting, merciful, and healing nature of Jesus Christ, our Savior. It also speaks to the power of Jesus to make even the most impossible, possible. In this Gospel message, Jesus calls each of us to shed our own skins, to dispose of our own predispositions, and to humble ourselves like our own children and students.
During this Advent season, the Gospel passage takes on additional meaning as we center our hearts on the preparation of the birth of the Baby Jesus. By sending us his son in the most ordinary and humbling of manners, God teaches us that Jesus Christ himself, not the distractions of the season or the complications of our humanity, should be the focus of our thoughts and prayers during this Advent season. By centering ourselves individually, and in turn our CBS community, on the birth of Jesus, we are able to heal all wounds and become whole again. As we close out the Year of Mercy in the Church, we should recognize that God’s unending mercy provides us with the strength to overcome even the greatest obstacles. Our greatest strength is in the common resolve of each of us to work together toward our goal--your sons into young men, young men into Christian gentlemen.
As we prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ by allowing and trusting the Holy Spirit to move and breath within ourselves and our community, we place the focus on our students, your sons, who themselves are beautiful witnesses of the newborn Christ. Let us welcome them in his name, just as we prepare to welcome Jesus himself, so that we can procure for ourselves the Kingdom of Heaven.
May you be blessed this Advent and Christmas seasons by the peace of the newborn Christ.