Laborers for Christ

Eleventh Sunday of Of Ordinary Time- A

The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. ” The well-known phrase from today’s Gospel was as prevalent two thousand years ago as today.  It seems part of human nature is the hesitancy to volunteer. Everywhere you look, from veteran’s associations to churches, the harvest is indeed large, and those willing to help are small. Think for a second. If only fifty percent would offer their time, then there would be plenty of hands to do the work that needs to be done.  Fifty percent, regrettably, remains a pipe dream for many organizations.

There are many reasons why people are hesitant to volunteer their time. The most common is the belief that their lives are too busy. Making a living is the biggest concern; some people might have to work more than 60-80 hours per week. Then kids must be taken to their sporting events at a mind-boggling pace. Time seems the biggest commodity, yet most claim they haven’t enough to cover life’s basic needs. Often people know that volunteering is a good thing and know they should do it, but it will have to wait until sometime in the future. And when the future comes, and their family responsibilities begin to subside, the anticipated extra time they think they will have never seems to materialize.    

You see, the problem doesn’t have to do with the lack of time as it has to do with priorities. Normally, people set their priorities to match their lifestyles. How they choose to live and where they spend their time is why they can’t volunteer. Take the parents who wish to have their children experience being part of a sports team.

Participation in these activities benefits a child in learning sportsmanship, community, and an emphasis on exercising. These are all good reasons why a child should participate in sports.  Unfortunately, children’s sports are big business, and the commitment demanded of the parents and child is over the top—no wonder the parents have little time to do anything else. But have the parents ever contemplated an equal benefit by being an example to their children by serving others instead of just being a chauffeur and enabling their children to think life is all about them?      

Service is only a part of a Christian’s baptismal responsibility to help strengthen the Kingdom of God. There is a great misnomer in Christian circles that preaching the Gospel is reserved only for the clergy and those working in the Church. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Every baptized person should fraternally correct someone erring in sin to reform that person. “If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”  

Not only should sin be challenged, but there must also be courage to stand up for the Truth in the face of evil. This past Friday, a group of lay Catholic protestors did just that. The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball organization invited a demonic and rabid anti-Catholic organization called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to be the ‘face’ of Pride Month at their ballpark.  Thousands of lay Catholics of Southern California were incensed by the Dodger’s public pandering to an evil organization, banded together, and protested at the stadium’s front gate, effectually closing the entrance. Thank God these protestors didn’t come up with an excuse for why they couldn’t be present in combatting evil and being a laborer for the harvest of God.

The famous missionary, St. Francis Xavier, while working with the people of India, wrote his frustration with the lack of laborers over four hundred years ago, “Many out here fail to become Christians only because there is nobody prepared to undertake the task of teaching them. . .. . I have often felt moved to go back to the universities shouting like a madman, saying to those who have more learning than goodwill, to employ it advantageously.”

The minute we are baptized into Christ, we are commissioned to go out into the world and transform it.  Not just some, but all of us need to take this Gospel seriously; we need to ponder the words of St. Francis Xavier personally, to employ what we have been given and use it advantageously in the fields of our world, to help do our part.  We were not given the gifts from God to delegate to another because we thought we were too busy or too important to lift the sickle and enter the midday sun.

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