Teachers of the Word….
Deciding to become teachers of the Word is a monumental decision:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. -James 3:1-2, NAB
Did St. James really just discourage us from becoming teachers of the Word? Surprisingly, yes. Do not take these words lightly because there is a lot of truth to this verse.
There are a number of ways to become a teacher in the Church today. It could be in a full-time role, such as a priest, or we can volunteer our free time to be a catechist. Even someone pounding away at the keyboard at 5 a.m. to post on a website could be considered a teacher of sorts.
With each of these positions, we are being entrusted by God with His Word. We are called to faithfully share Christ’s message with our students, and people will be quick to judge us for any mistake in doing so. We will also be judged on how well we live up to that message in our own lives.
Now, by no means do I want to discourage anyone from becoming a catechist or teaching in some other way. By reflecting on the words of St. James, I want each of us to understand the power and impact we have on others when sharing God’s Word. We must never take it lightly – regardless of the depth of our knowledge or how long we’ve been doing it.
It should also challenge us to be more thankful and grateful for the catechists and teachers who devote their time to forming the faith of others. Despite the scrutiny they will face, they accept this role because they know how important it is to the life of the Church.
Answering the call to become a teacher of the Word can be difficult. Our priests, deacons, catechists, and lay ministers will face obstacles and be scrutinized for their every word and action. May we thank God for the work they do each day because the Church would not be the same without them.