Dear members of the administrative and teaching staff, dear students, dear parents,
Greetings of love and gratitude.
With the beginning of this new school year, we welcome you with love and joy after a happy summer break. Let us all make sure that our motto is excellence and achievement.
First, I'd like us to consider together a text from the Gospel of Luke, in which he talks about Jesus reading a passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
"He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke, 4:16-21).
We see that our Lord Jesus Christ, glory to Him, is the first and only Teacher, because, as he opens one of the books of the Old Testament, through him, this covenant is clarified and understood. And, after reading the text of Isaiah, he says, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing..." Christ came to the poor, who had nothing to give to God, and told them that they are the object of God’s love, and that God loves them precisely because they know that they have nothing to offer to God, unlike the scribes and Pharisees so full of themselves. He came to give freedom to the prisoners, for the prisoners bound by iron cannot run to God. So Christ came to take from them everything that prevents them from running to God Almighty. He came to open the eyes of the blind, who walk without seeing forward, to give meaning to their lives so that they go to God Almighty, to see and distinguish between good and evil. He came to release the ones crushed and tired by the various worries of the weight of life. So let us ask Him for a good and beautiful year, without forgetting that nothing comes from us, but everything comes from God.
Brothers and sisters, principals and teachers, we, too, also need to learn from our divine teacher how to teach and give love to our students, to every student who comes to us seeking knowledge, for love is the first teacher.
We must give our students freedom from previous notions and prejudices about God and the Church, which bind them and prevent them from walking on the right path. We must open their eyes to walk the path of good, and help them to form their own personality and character. Our role is to help build their conscience, not be their conscience. How many students today need us to support them in their crises and difficulties in life, society and family?
Like I said before, let us not forget that everything we have is from God Almighty. We must return these graces to Him in the most beautiful way. Through this year, let us work with our students to offer the greatest gift we can to God Almighty; the gift of knowledge, knowledge of a loving and humane culture of God and man.
Honorable parents, together we walk and raise our children in the path of love, towards mankind and God. Together we build a future for our children based on good. One cannot choose evil; for evil degrades human value, and distorts one's image as a human being. This is how we contribute, with our divine teacher, for our children to be free and to open their eyes; this is how we enrich them with love, calling them to stand up in this world, to raise their heads, to be thankful to God for His gift as they realize that everything is from God.
Finally, let me address you, our dear students. Wherever you are, no matter who you are, God loves you, and we, also, as a Church and as your teachers, we love you, because you are the object of God's love and the love of your families. Together, we want to start a blessed new year, during which we will grow in grace and wisdom before God and people, to become fulfilled human beings, who know and love God and mankind.
I wish you a happy new school year full of learning, good work and knowledge. May you move forward every year, in excellence in love, knowledge and humanity.
Father Elie Kurzum
General Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Galilee