God’s Anointed and Sent One is here. And with him comes great harvest. That is why there is need for not a few laborers.
God hears those who pray and ask, “May there be plenty of grain in the land. May it sway on the peaks of the mountains.” But, of course, to avail of the great harvest, many laborers should be available.
So, then, Jesus loses no time to call Simon and Andrew, James and John, the first laborers. He does so right after he proclaims, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Good News.”
As it turns out, four laborers are not enough since news about him spreads over the whole region of Galilee. For the new way he teaches amazes those who hear and see him. He does not teach like the scribes, but with authority; he orders evil spirits, and they obey him. In fact, the whole town lines up at the door.
Other cures add to his fame (Mk 1, 29-34). As a result, the locals bring to him even after sundown all the sick and the possessed. And later, the following day, all will look for him; and he still has to go to other towns. It all goes to show that there is much work to do; four or even twelve apostles are not enough.
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to his harvest.
Yes, there is a great harvest. Hence, Jesus chooses seventy-two others; he sends them ahead of him, in pairs, to where he is about to go. That is to say, he looks for more than just any worker; one must be from those he will choose. From those whom the Lord of the harvest will send. And there is no one who can help but he.
For the harvest is one of the great things the Almighty does. In the first place, it is all up to God; he gives it to those he loves while they sleep. The toil is his work, too; if he does not work, laborers work in vain. It is right, then, to ask missionaries to give all credit to God for the good they do (SV.EN VII:116; XI:314).
But Jesus chooses, the Lord of the harvest sends, not only those who seek holy orders. Not only those who look to the consecrated life. Choice and sending aim, too, at all Christians. For there is need for many laborers: young, old, men, women, people of all race, tongue, culture, lay, consecrated, ordained, wealthy, poor.
What matters most of all is that Christians are Jesus’ forerunners. That they go out of their comfort zone to reach all the outskirts (EG 20). For their task is to proclaim that he comes to bring in the kingdom of God.
And this kingdom asks that all repent, that our world be other than what it now is. Light will thus shine bright due to the laborers who are brave enough to see it and be it. And their hearts will rejoice also. Not for their awesome gains, but for the help they give to bring about the new creation. To make new the face of the earth.
Lord Jesus, grant that we be your laborers. Make us work like you; may our prayers and gatherings around your table lead us to the outskirts (SV.EN XI:33).
3 July 2022
14th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Is 66, 10-14c; Gal 6, 14-18; Lk 10, 1-12. 17-20