Reflection for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the past week, the new school year started. For most of our students and their dedicated teachers, this won’t be their first year in our parish school, but for all it is the beginning of a new year. And as the German writer, Hermann Hesse, put it, in a well-known line: ‘There is something magical in every beginning.’
In the midst of all the hard work involved in organizing the beginning of classes, and with all the hustle and bustle involved for parents and children in getting the new school-run fitted into a busy schedule, it might seem far-fetched to associate the beginning of the school-year, of all things, with anything magical!
But if we think for a moment about what school is, we’ll see that it is or at least it can be an adventure launching us on a process of enquiry and discovery, where literally ‘the sky’s the limit’. It is potentially a never-ending journey. And because it has a beginning, or a starting-point, and a direction, it also contains within it the promise of a fulfilling ending. Somewhat in the way that a genuine question will also contain the anticipation of a real answer.
We believe as a community of faith that the end of all our journeys, like their beginning or origin, is God. In this sense it’s interesting to note that the first words of the Creed: ‘I believe in one God’ (in Latin: ‘Credo in unum Deum’), if translated more literally, would read: ‘I believe into one God’, which might catch better the sense of movement involved in our lives as a process of growing into God, or allowing God to grow into us.
Speaking of Latin, it’s interesting to note as well that the word for ‘school’ (‘ludus’) is also the Latin term for ‘play’ or ‘game’. Maybe the ancients had a keener sense than we often do of education as something joyful! In this context, it’s worth recalling words of G. K. Chesterton, who wrote: ‘The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.’
We invoke God’s blessing on the new school year, and pray that it will allow us all to rekindle in ourselves the sense of wonder and curiosity associated most intensely perhaps with our childhood! Not for nothing did Jesus tell us: ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’
Fr. Martin Henry
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