By Reagan Franklin
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you,
for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” ~Luke 14:13-14
God’s plan is perfect
The end of the long, hot summer days lead to a new beginning: the beginning of school. As a teacher, it’s a bittersweet time. Although I’ll miss the time of relaxing and recharging, the beginning of a new school year, like most things new, is full of anticipation and excitement! I spend hours in professional development, setting up the classroom, putting together lesson plans, and finally, “Meet the Teacher” day arrives when all the families come to school to meet me, see the classroom, and tell me about their precious children. But, for me, it’s “meet the students”! It’s the moment I see the face of God in 40 little people. He has crafted each of them as a work of art. He has given me every tool I need to minister to them collectively and individually. Before the beginning of time, He arranged for our paths to intersect for these ten months.
Each comes with their own concerns, fears, traumas, abilities, joys, and experiences. The Lord has knit me perfectly to care for each one. The weight of the responsibility is daunting; the human spirit can only hold so much of it. That is when I call on the Holy Spirit.
Gifts the Holy Spirit
Is it possible the magisterium of the Catholic Church designed its liturgy around the beginning of the school year? No, no… that’s God, divinely setting the stage. The Gospel of Luke today tells a parable about holding a banquet and inviting not only those you know and love, or people of influence, but instead the least of His, the poor, crippled, lame, and blind.
This is a perfect metaphor for a classroom of children. As diverse as the earth itself: all different nationalities, emotionalities, and personalities. Like the poor, crippled, lame, and blind, the students have the most basic need of being seen, heard, and loved. The Lord is calling me (ME!) personally and intimately to minister to their needs. Over the next months, I will pray to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to infuse me with His precious gifts: wisdom, understanding counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of You. With the gifts, come the fruits. My human spirit will get overwhelmed and anxious, but the Holy Spirit will give me peace and gentleness. My human spirit will get frustrated, but the Holy Spirit will provide me with patience and self-control. My human spirit will want to give up, but the Holy Spirit will give me faithfulness to persevere.
Banquet of our Lord
Yes, I will teach my students to read and write, and they will teach me humility. More importantly, though, I pray for them to feel the esteem and honor they deserve at the banquet of our days together.
Lord, let us see Your people through Your eyes. Whether they are students in a classroom, a homeless person on the street, or an unborn child, let us see their dignity as human beings and as Your children. Send the Holy Spirit into our lives, giving us every gift we need to invite everyone to the banquet and see Your face in all we serve.
Call to Action
Reflect upon who God is calling you (YOU!) personally and intimately to see through His eyes. How will you “invite them to a banquet?” If you are worried that you don’t have what it takes, remember God equips the called, so don’t be afraid to hear and follow His plans for you!
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