To Work in His Vineyard

Matthew 9: 35-10:1,5a,6-8
Is 30: 19-21,23-26 / Ps 147

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
(Matthew 9:37)

God came to heal and exorcize,
And proclaim pardon to sinners;
Then gave His life as sacrifice
That He might save all believers.

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” … And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity… These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “…go…to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.” (Matthew 9:35-10:1,5a,6-8)

Reflection

Through the ages, the Church that Jesus established on earth has grown, and many martyrs and saints it produced have gone on to claim their eternal reward prepared by the Lord for them in heaven. But the work of evangelization and conversion of souls on earth continues, with the ripened fields growing faster than the Church can recruit laborers to bring in the harvest. Everyone worth his grain as a Christian has the primal obligation to save a soul aside from his own. It is not only our children for whom we are required by God to establish the foundation of their faith as our only responsibility. We must also lead others to Christ, especially the neighbor who doesn’t care to read, much less own a bible, or the officemate who can’t give up a sinful activity, or even a brother or sister in our worship group who might be experiencing doubts about his or her faith or questioning the doctrines of the Church.

When we consider the blessings of faith that we now enjoy, are we content to just sit back and relax, and let the others find their own way in the dark? Didn’t Jesus tell us when we were enlightened by the Word, “You are the light of the world… your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”? (Mt. 5:14, 16). We received this gift of faith without any cost, when once upon a time a brother or a sister in our community invited us. Or perhaps we experienced the call to conversion through some divine intervention. How much have we paid back for this privilege that we have received? How much have we shown as appreciation for our salvation in terms of declaring ourselves for the Lord?

Last night, I was privileged to give a talk after our First Friday Mass on the preparation and delivery of a life testimony sharing in our weekly breakfast meetings. Sharing is the most basic form of evangelization where the sharer gives witness to the kindness and mercy of God in his life. As Jesus said in Matthew, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my Father in heaven.” (Mt.10:32-33) We are all called to this apostolic work.

Father God, thank You for inviting me to be a worker in Your vineyard. Thank You for all the lessons that Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ imparted to us in Holy Scriptures, and for all Your promises that give us hope for eternal life. Grant us the grace to speak out for our Lord Jesus Christ, without fear or shame, so that we may truly be worthy of bearing His Name. Amen.

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