July 3, 2022 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070322.cfm)
Easy for us to think that this particular scriptural passage in our gospel today is a call for us to pray to God to grant us more laborers for His vineyard, so that we may enjoy the fruits of His harvest. In a sense, we acknowledge and enjoy the abundant bounty of God’s salvation in our lives. But, we also need to ask God to send us somebody to hand such blessings over for us. For us then to fully enjoy the harvest of God’s salvation in our lives, we must have to pray that God will send us more laborers at our service, and that we just wait for these laborers to come and share us the fruits of the harvest. In other words, we are mere the passive recipients and benefactors of God’s grace – begging God to call and send somebody, other than ourselves, to share us the fruits of His redemption.
But this passage is more than just an appeal to pray to God that He will send us others to save us the day and have a share of such blessings. But this is Jesus’ invitation for us to become the Laborer, ourselves. He calls us to be sharers rather than mere takers.
As the Lord of the harvest Himself, Jesus did not only ask his disciples to pray, but also invited and sent them as laborers in His vineyard. After saying, “Pray that the Lord of the Harvest to send out more workers to gather in His harvest”, he said, “Go, I am sending you…” This would mean that recipient-benefactors we may be, we are also active participants and sharers of God’s salvation. Not only that, in prayer we recognize God’s grace but also we declare that we are sent to be sharers, promoters of such grace to others. As we are called to follow Jesus and to pray for more disciples, we are also challenged to become His laborers & missionaries ourselves – sent to extend His invitation to be laborers to others so that all may have a share and can fully enjoy in the blessings of God’s kingdom.
This is an extension of Jesus’ invitation: “Follow me.” Yes, he calls us to be his disciples but he also wants us to be a missionary disciple, to be his follower who is also called and sent to bring & share the good news to everyone. All of us are called to be His disciples. But to be His disciple, it is not enough just to believe and passively follow Him. It would also mean that to be his disciple is to participate in His missionary work of salvation. We must also contribute and take part in sharing and preaching the Good news to others by our words and action, and in building His church.
We might ask ourselves, “What can I do or contribute for God’s Kingdom?” You may not be convinced that you can do much, but each of us can effect some change in one way or another in our lives for God’s reign. Just like the attitude of this little child.
Years ago, a gentleman stood outside admiring a newly-build magnificent cathedral. Standing beside him was a little girl of ten years old, who suddenly asked him: “Mister, do you like that church?” “Yes, my dear, I think it is quite lovely.” “Well, Mister, I’m glad you like it because I helped in building it.” “You? You helped to build it?” The child proudly nodded. And the man continued: “But you are only a little girl. How did you help to build it?” “Well, my daddy is a construction worker,” came the reply, “and he worked on this church ever since it began, ….and every single day I brought him lunch.” A simple contribution of loving kindness made a difference. It helped build a church for everyone.
Remember Jesus first calls us to “Follow Him” and as we follow, only then we are invited to “Do this”. As last Sunday gospel suggests, Following the Lord calls for our availability first and then our capacity. If we prove our dependability and faithfulness, only then He will increase our capability. Like that girl, Be part of the building and sharing of God’s grace in life rather than like that gentleman, just benefiting from it.
We pray that our faith in Jesus Christ moves us to remain available and actively participate in the harvest of God’s graces and blessings for us all as now & always. Amen.