By By Rev. Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla
TEACHER, WHO ARE YOU?
posted 28-Oct-2019  ·  
242 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

When I was younger, years before I was ordained, I was contemplating on what direction in life do I really want to take. Of course, my entrance into the seminary was not a product of a mere chance. I believed, even then, that there was really a call for me to serve Him as a priest. But then, as part of growing up, I also imagined myself in other professions. My second ambition was to be a lawyer, especially if I will be sent out of the seminary because of my mischievous attitude. I also imagined myself to be a police officer, but not the likes of some of the present PNP top brass who are a real disgrace to the noble profession and to the dignity of the police force. Last on my list is to become a teacher. I just can’t imagine myself in front of unruly students and making lessons plans everyday of my life. That was, for me, a waste of time and a boring profession to take.

Last week, I was invited to say mass in one of the prestigious high schools here in Quezon City but I was not informed that it was their Teachers’ Day celebration. So, I decided to talk about the life of a teacher, a life which I never wanted in the very first place. It was a punishment for me because I was forced to talk in a positive way about that profession which I did not like. My memories even sent me back to my high school experience when I would literally curse my professor in Trigonometry and Algebra, and later on, my professor in Statistics and Thesis Writing.

In my homily, I found myself appreciating all the sacrifices that these noble teachers had done even at the expense of their own families. Looking back, I knew in my heart that they were really compelled to live a life with a good moral background and a reputation that is beyond doubt to be good and honest. They had to teach their students not only regarding the contents of the books or about the subject assigned to them, but they had to teach them how to survive in the real battle outside the four-walled classrooms, and we call it the battle of life.

I know and I am aware that we cannot always expect our teachers to be perfect, because no one is. I know that our teachers are also prone to fall into temptations especially regarding the temptation to be rich, powerful and to be significant. All of us are facing these kinds of temptations and, most of the time, the devil does it good because a lot of people now are crazy about money, power and fame.

In my experience, as a priest for almost 20 years now, the profession which I tried so much to avoid is also the same kind of ministry to which I am bound to fulfill. A priest is a teacher and he must teach people the truth about God’s love and the Good News of our salvation. He must teach people never to despair and always trust in the mercy and forgiveness of God. He must teach about the doctrines of the Church which are being questioned by some crazy religious leaders who would, almost always, present themselves as the owner of the universe and “sugo ng dios”. Most of these crazy individuals had died already and their bodies did not manifest even the slightest sign that they are of divine origin.

Teaching is a real challenge, but who really is a teacher? I believe that all teachers are bound to teach only what is good. I believe that a teacher must earn the respect of their students, not because of their profession, but because of the kind of life that they live and the example that they show. A teacher is someone who knows what sacrifice is all about and is ready to walk the extra mile of sacrifice and hard work all in the name of love. A teacher inculcates in their students not only the knowledge of things but the wisdom to always choose, above all, the higher good.

I know a lot of noble teachers whose lives may not be a success in the eyes of the world. But even then, I know that there is a lot of commonalities in the lives of priests and teachers. Priests do teach a lot just like teachers, and on the other end, teachers do their tasks not to impress the world but simply to fulfill their mission. Who would love to teach when the salary grade is below sea level? And who would love to be a priest when your income is not even enough to feed your own mouth? But this is fulfilling the Christian mission of sharing to everyone our God-given talents and abilities.

Teachers, who are you? You are a very beautiful creature both in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the world. Continue answering the call and facing all the challenges. You may not be rewarded in this earthly life, but you are assured of that special place in God’s kingdom because you shared in the mission of Christ in teaching, not the clever and the learned, but the lowly ones who only have God as their source of hope, strength, and inspiration. God bless you teachers and I will forever be indebted to you. I am what I am because of your help and support.

Thank you so much dear teachers!


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