Another word for student is disciple. Either way, our calling is to learn. Today’s scripture suggests that a sound religious education involves more than proper knowledge of God’s word. Jesus criticizes scribes and Pharisees for failing to integrate their orthodox (literally “right thinking”) faith with practical faithful living; they do not practice what they teach.
The word “educate” has two root meanings: “draw forth” or “lead out.” Jesus’ teaching reaches deep into our souls to draw forth our essential personhood from under all that stunts our growth toward full reflection of the divine image at the core of our human being. Becoming who we are eternally predestined to be is rooted in the affirmation and nurture of our identity as beloved children of one God.
Born anew by water and divine word, baptism enrolls us in the church’s “vocational school” where Rabbi Jesus leads disciples out of natural pre-occupation with self-exaltation and into the divinely exalted humanity of humble servanthood.
God of wisdom, teach us to practice all we learn in service to one another, that together all your beloved children may grow in fullness of life and humanity, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. — PL