The Word of God is rich and living. I found many points in the readings of this Sunday that we can share with one another. But in the limit of the time we have, I would like to invite you to reflect upon one sentence of Jesus: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”
First, the harvest, when people heard this word, they generally thought of foreign evangelisation. Out there, there were billions of people who were not Christian. So some missionaries went to those parts of the world to convert them to Christianity. Today, of course, there are still billions of people out there who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. But the reality of our life is different. The majority of us here don’t go to foreign countries as missionaries. We live a normal life, day in and day out in a same place. So what does the word of Jesus mean? What is the harvest for the Gospel in our particular situaions?
I am sure you can make a list of the environments that we can attribute to ‘the harvest’. Please allow me to suggest one place where we can find the harvest for the Gospel: it’s our home.
Home is the place for our children to learn their first lessons in life. That these lessons be those of Jesus’ love.
Home is where we tell our stories. That we add to our conversations some stories of Jesus, who has touched our life.
Home is where we encounter differences that sometimes lead to conflicts. That we respond to them with understanding and compassion.
At home, we share our meal together. That we share it in the spirit of the Supper of Jesus where everyone becomes broken for one another with love and respect.
Home is where we encounter the weaknesses and sins of the members. That we embrace one another with humility, forgiveness and healing, just as Jesus always does to us.
My friends, when we do all this, we turn our home into the harvest for the Gospel. And, this harvest is certainly abundant.
Jesus also said: “but the laborers are few.” It is true that the laborers at the time of Jesus were few because there was only the twelve apostles and some other disciples; but today, 2000 yeas later, the disciples of Jesus are really numerous.
A sidenote: Among his twelve apostles, Jesus also appointed 72 other followers. The biblical number 72 or 70, taken from chapter ten of the book of Genesis, recall the number of the nations known at that time. Therefore, the message is clear: together with the apostles and their successors, all the baptised are coresponsible for the evangelisation on earth. Although the disciples of Jesus are numerous today, it seems that the harvest still lacks laborers. So there is still a question that needs be be answered: Will these numerous disciples accept to become laborers or not?
My friends, “the harvest is abundant.” Let us pray that we, as disciples of Jesus, have the courage to become his laborers. Let us begin with our home, our family, and out community.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.