Teachers, this will be a summer holiday like none other!
Covid-19 invites God’s people to look at life through a new lens. There is no going back to anything. There never was. Now, more than ever, people are cautious as they move forward. These words ‘we are in this together’ are regularly spoken during the pandemic. Yes, ‘we are in this together’ with God.
The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 43:19) reminds the faithful:
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
School will close shortly for summer holidays, virtually and physically. Might it be possible to stop and silently thank God for bringing the school community through this academic year to this moment, with all its joys and sorrows; conveniences and inconveniences? We thank God for the generosity of all those people who work daily on the frontline on our behalf.
The academic year may not end in the way it was expected but, ‘Who knows the mind of God?’ God is the One who surprises. God is the One who is always doing a new thing. God is in control. We trust God.
We teach our students to trust God. We think of all the people that God called and chose for particular tasks in the Old Testament and they responded in trust, e.g. Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah to name but a few. In the New Testament, God called and chose Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, the twelve apostles and others.
God calls each one of us as co-creators in God’s plan. Let us continue to trust. Let us be faithful. God is always present to support those God calls. Through the centuries, God called the saints and people to live lives of holiness. The vocation as teacher calls each one to share the Good News of God’s love and to follow Jesus’ way of love.
One certainty exists: God is love and loves unconditionally. God desires that every person in the school community, enjoys a time of rest with friends and family in the months ahead. God is grateful for the work accomplished and as the psalmist reminds us God, ‘pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber.’ (Psalm 127:2).
These last months, it is impressive to see how life progresses with the creative use of technology. Families engaged in home schooling. Some families sent photos and videos of their creative efforts to Face Book which got many ‘likes’ and ‘loves’. We saw the May altars and heard the hymn singing. Well done to all. We saw ‘Fan the Flame 2020.’ Life invites us to be grateful and creative.
The social media offers free online courses and concerts. People spend hours of enjoyment and leisure through these platforms.
Life offers choices. Zoom is used very effectively for entertainment such as quiz nights, musical evenings and Bingo evenings. Webinars keep people informed.
Life continues amid the challenges.
People grieve the death of loved ones and the loss of jobs and businesses. Each person’s loss is difficult and unique.
Life is fragile. Life is precious.
There is no need to be afraid. There is hope. Just as God accompanied Moses and the people in the Old Testament, as they travelled through the desert, as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, God is always present. Jesus is with us until the end of time (Mt 28; 18-20).
Life invites us to believe and hope.
Now is the time to enjoy the holiday-break. In imitation of Mary, Mother of God, let us ponder these things in our hearts.
‘We are in this together’.
Sr Anne Neylon is a Sister of the Daughters of Charity and Diocesan Advisor for Religious Education, in the Archdiocese of Dublin