Sound like a downer after yesterday’s Fourth of July festivities? I’m not trying to be morbid. When I read today’s gospel, I thought of a talk given by one of our priests on a faculty retreat. After reading scripture and meditating upon it, he sent us out to walk around the abbey property and think about what we would like our headstones to read when we die. Not to be a copycat, but what he said really resonated with me. The priest said that he would like his tombstone to be inscribed, “Faithful laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.” I hope and pray that I can truly remain faithful throughout life’s good times and especially in the tragedies, so that God will say that of me when I die. Today’s gospel reminded me of this:
“…Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.” Matthew 9:32-38
I’ve highlighted the parts of today’s gospel that really spoke to me. Jesus’ heart was moved with pity over the people He found there because they were troubled and abandoned. Doesn’t this sound just like the world we live in today? The world is suffering greatly because of its disconnect with God. Without Him, there can be no peace. Jesus’ heart was moved with pity. How much does the Good Shepherd long for us to long for Him? Our world is longing for Truth, but does it even know where to look?
“The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” These words also could not ring more true than in our world today. How do we become better laborers for God to bring in the harvest of souls crying out for Truth? We must protect our time with Him each day. We cannot bring peace into the world unless we have it ourselves. We cannot have it ourselves if we don’t make time to get it from the Giver of all good things. We must spend some time in silence with Him each day so that He may fill us and direct our paths.
Another good thing to do is to just “show up.” At the beginning of each day, say the Morning Offering or a simple prayer, surrendering all of yourself to be used at God’s disposal. Sound scary? It’s really not. “Lord, I offer you all that I have and all that I am. Use me today as you see fit to bring others to You.”
Hopefully, at the end of this life, God will say of us, “Faithful laborers in the vineyard of the Lord.” What Mother Theresa once said bears repeating, “God doesn’t require that we be successful – just that we be faithful.” He will take care of the rest!