Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Instruction of the Young

Daily Readings
Sirach 24 + II Kings 11 + II Chronicles 22 + Jeremiah 45

Quote of the Day
I will again make instruction shine forth like the dawn,
and I will make it clear from far away.
I will again pour out teaching like prophecy,
and leave it to all future generations. Sirach 24:32, 33

Daily Text: II Kings 11

Instruction of the Young
The passage in Sirach 24 above reflects the significance of Joash’s crowning. He is son of the slain king, and last of the Davidic line. All of the rest of Ahab’s family in Judah are put to the sword so that Athaliah, mother of the slain king and daughter of Ahab and Jezebel can rule. The influence of Omri and Ahab and the god Baal in Jerusalem is great at this time, however, Joash is hidden by Jehosheba, wife of the priest Jehoiada, and it is obvious that Joash is brought up hidden in the temple and taught the ways of YHWH [II Kings 12:2]. It is that instruction that makes possible his faithful reign over at least thirty –eight years, even though his total years are given as the round number of forty (II Chronicles 24:1).

How critical the teaching of the young! In our own time, that teaching is so compromised by multi-cultural emphases that ‘truth’ seems lost in the process. ‘What is truth?’ The age old question is lost when all teaching is promulgated as of equal value. Joash reaffirms the covenant, probably both Davidic and Mosaic in nature, though exactly what is referred to here is unknown. The reference to ‘covenant’ in vs. 12 may have been a symbol that the young king wore, but the symbol in itself would have hearkened back to the commitment of David to the covenant of the LORD.

Arthur Guiterman

Mark Hopkins sat on one end of a log
And a farm boy sat on the other.
Mark Hopkins came as a pedagogue
And taught as an elder brother.
I don’t care what Mark Hopkins taught,
If his Latin was small and his Greek was naught,
For the farm boy he thought, thought he,
All through the lecture time and quiz,
“The kind of a man I mean to be
Is the kind of a man Mark Hopkins is.”

Theology, languages, medicine, law,
Are peacock feathers to deck a daw
If the boys who come from your splendid schools
Are well-trained sharpers or flippant fools,
You may boast of your age and your ivied walls,
Your great endowments, your marble halls,
And all your modern features,
Your vast curriculum’s scope and reach
And the multifarious things you teach—
But how about your teachers?
Are they men who can stand in a father’s place,
Who are paid, best paid, by the ardent face
When boyhood gives, as boyhood can,
Its love and faith to a fine, true man?

No printed word nor spoken plea
Can teach young hearts what men should be,
Not all the books on all the shelves,
But what the teachers are, themselves.
For Education is, Making Men;
So is it now, so was it when
Mark Hopkins sat on one end of a log
And James Garfield sat on the other.


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