When I taught the Seventh Grade Religion class at St. Paul’s grade school, we always used this Gospel according to Matthew for our textbook. After I had made up lessons for all twenty-eight chapters, I showed my lessons to a wise old priest, Father Reynolds, and I asked him if they were a good way of teaching the kids.
He said, “You cover the matter well, but in teaching Religion it does no good to just bank knowledge in the minds of kids. It must affect them in some way.”
In an attempt at following Father Reynold’s advice, I followed up each lesson with a demand that the student write his or her “Personal Reaction” to the matter in the chapter of Matthew we were studying. After this Chapter Ten of Matthew’s Gospel, I asked each student to write his or her opinion to this question: Was is right for Jesus to tell the apostles to preach only to Jews?
Some kids wrote, “It was not fair. Everyone needs to hear the teaching of Jesus.”
Other kids wrote, “It had to be fair, because Jesus can’t be wrong.”
Two kids wrote something like this, “Maybe it wasn’t the right time for those others to hear his teaching.”
That was the right answer. It was in line with Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three., that goes something like this: “There is a time for everything under the sun: a time to be born, a time to die; a tine to plant, and a time to uproot. A time to kiss, and a time when the kissing must stop.”
For those eleven-year-old kids it wasn’t the right time for things they would need to turn to later.