Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

7/8/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Church is the Ark, the boat, presided over by the Lord. He is at the helm, steering His redemptive course through time and human history into eternity. The Lord of the harvest is calling workers for the New Evangelization and the new missionary age.

The Kingdom is still present in the Person of Jesus Christ. He continues to spread that Kingdom through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The mission of that Church is our mission, to spread the Good News of the Gospel in this hour. We are sent into this age as surely as Matthew and the first apostles were sent into the First Millennium.  In a homily preached on the passage from Luke, Pope St. Gregory the Great shared with honesty words which could certainly apply to our own time, - It is indeed regrettable that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. There is no shortage of people to hear the Good news. What is missing are people to spread it! 

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/8/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: missionary, new evangelization, evangelism, laborers for the harvest, lay members of Christ's Faithful, St John Paul II, Deacon Keith Fournier


BOTHELL, WA (Catholic Online) - I write from outside of Seattle, Washington, where my wife and I are visiting our son, daughter in law and two of our six grandchildren. The words from Tuesdays Gospel for Holy Mass are familiar to most of us:

"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." (Matt. 9)

What may not be clear to us is that we are the laborers. You and me. People have prayed - and are praying even at this moment- and we are being called by the Lord to respond to His call and participate in the work of the harvest, right now.

This passage in the Gospel of Matthew follows right after the account of the healing of the paralytic, the raising of a dead girl, the cure of the woman with the hemorrhage and the casting out of a demon. All of these are signs that the Kingdom of God is present in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom is still present in the Person of Jesus Christ. He continues to spread that Kingdom through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The mission of that Church is our mission, to spread the Good News of the Gospel in this hour. We are sent into this age as surely as Matthew and the first apostles were sent into the First Millennium.   

In the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:1-12) we read the account of Jesus sending of the seventy two disciples. They stand as a symbol for all who, under the care and authority of the Apostles, would participate in and continue His redemptive mission after His Resurrection and Ascension. That includes you and me.

The call to this ongoing missionary work echoes down throughout the centuries. It is heard loudly and clearly in this very hour. If you listen closely, opening the ears of your heart, you will hear your own name! There is a desperate need for laborers in this hour and the harvest is abundant. What is needed are the laborers.

In a homily preached on the passage from Luke, Pope St. Gregory the Great shared with honesty words which could certainly apply to our own time, "It is indeed regrettable that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. There is no shortage of people to hear the Good news. What is missing are people to spread it!"

The Church exists to evangelize. The essential nature of the Church is missionary. The Catholic Church has always taught that every single human being on the face of the earth has a right to hear the liberating Gospel message of Jesus Christ and to be invited into new life in the heart of His Church.

That task of proclaiming the Kingdom and inviting the men and women of this age to encounter Jesus and come into His Body, the Church, will be accomplished in this hour by you and me, no matter what our state in life, or specific vocation. Are we hearing the invitation? Are we responding?

We were all baptized into Jesus Christ, and enlisted to participate in the saving mission of His Church. However, in order to be able to engage such a missionary task, many Catholic Christians need to first be renewed in their own Baptismal faith through a personal and transformational  encounter with the Risen Lord.

This encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ needs to then be rooted, strengthened and secured by solid catechesis in what it really means to live as a Catholic Christian in this age. This task of waking Catholics up, and catechizing them afresh, is what is meant by the phrase New Evangelization as coined by St. John Paul II. It is now embodied in so much of the catechesis and instruction within the Catholic Church.

This New Evangelization invites each one of us come to truly understand - and then to really live our baptismal vocation. We are invited to freely choose the Lord and be completely given over to the work of the Lord, by living in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world.

This kind of evangelical renewal requires an authentic and ongoing spiritual renewal of the Church so that she can then undertake a new missionary outreach to the whole world. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical missionary task in this critical hour in history.

The Church is the Ark, the boat, presided over by the Lord. He is at the helm, steering His redemptive course through time and human history into eternity. The Lord of the harvest is calling workers for the New Evangelization and the new missionary age. He is sending us all out into the field. He will work His saving and redemptive mission in and through us, because we are members of His Mystical Body, the Church.

I believe we are alive at the beginning of what will become a great resurgence in the Catholic Church. This is a work of the Holy Spirit intended to provide the resources needed for a new missionary age.

Just when her opponents are ready to count the Catholic Church out, the sleeping giant is rising, with healing in her wings - and a missionary song in her heart. She is being awakened from her slumber from within and challenged to action from without. She is being sent into the fields of this age to gather the harvest for the Lord.   

The resources needed for this harvest have been prepared by the Holy Spirit. With the eyes of living faith we can see them being assembled. For example, the lay ecclesial movements are flourishing, new and renewed religious communities are growing, new and renewed Colleges and Universities, desirous of being fully and faithfully Catholic, are flourishing; all pointing to the work of the Holy Spirit awakening the Church.

Such movements, along with the new or renewed catholic Colleges are becoming the seedbed of all the various Christian vocations. From them the Lord is choosing and preparing missionaries to be sent into the fields of this age which are ripe for harvest.

There is a growing evangelical Catholic faith and life being manifested among so many of the lay faithful. The empowerment, training and recruitment of the lay members of the Church is at the center of the Holy Spirit's plan for this new missionary age.

In a powerful apostolic exhortation to the Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People St. John Paul described one part of the field into which the Church is being sent with these insightful words:

"Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism.

This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived "as if God did not exist". This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life's very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism.

At this moment the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church. Their responsibility, in particular, is to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response-consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees-to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society.

This will be possible if the lay faithful will know how to overcome in themselves the separation of the Gospel from life, to again take up in their daily activities in family, work and society, an integrated approach to life that is fully brought about by the inspiration and strength of the Gospel.
" (Christifidelis Laici, #34)

Does the description sound familiar? The West is now mission territory. I reject the wrangling over why or how it happened. Further, I reject terms such as "post-Christian". Instead, I prefer to see the West as Pre-Christian. It is time for a revival of living faith in the Church.

The Lord who birthed the Church from His wounded side on Golgotha's Hill and died for her is now renewing her by His Spirit and calling her to continue his redemptive work until he returns to bring it to completion. He has been raised from the dead! He is truly alive! He is calling you and me into the harvest.

He now walks with our feet and issues His invitation to all men and women through our lips and by the witness of our lives, lived in Him, with Him, through Him, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are called to live our life in Christ by living them in the Church for the sake of the world which God still loves. That world is the field into which we are now sent.

We are living at the dawn of a New Missionary Age. The Harvest is Abundant But the Laborers are Few. We Are The Laborers. We are the missionaries. The fields are ripe.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More U.S.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Pro-Life Christian Leader and Hero Watch

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Christian Leader

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On January 27, 2017, the annual March for Life will take place once again in Washington, DC. On January 16th we commemorate a great Christian and Human Rights Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was assassinated in 1968 for defending the fundamental truth of ... continue reading


Pope Francis cited in one bishop's call for change - Will it help? Watch

Image of Pope Francis has been calling for help on behalf of immigrants for years.

By Kevin Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

The upcoming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump has raised questions about the future of immigration reform, but the nation's Catholic bishops remain hopeful. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "We also find it important that we engage the present incoming ... continue reading


'The Greatest Show on Earth' to pack up for the last time after 146 years Watch

Image of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus will close after 146 years (Todd Hesler).

By Nikki Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus announced they would be closing up shop for the final time this May after 146 years of bringing magic to families across the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Everyone knows the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & ... continue reading


Christianity on the decline under Obama, pop media, and atheist persecution Watch

Image of A church is burned in full-scale effigy at the Burning Man festival, an expression of pop culture.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Atheism and agnosticism gained a boost during Obama's presidency as the number of people claiming no religious affiliation rose during his administration. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Pew Research Center has released a report which states, "When it comes ... continue reading


Catholic hospital under fire for practicing religious freedoms Watch

Image of A Catholic hospital may be forced to compromise its religious rights.

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

A Catholic hospital faces an anti-discrimination lawsuit for cancelling a surgery to remove a uterus from a female who identifies as a man. The surgery was meant to treat gender dysphoria. Paterson, NJ (CNA/EWTN News) - "This case involves whether a Catholic hospital ... continue reading


Why does the Catholic University of America have a collection of over 600 Ethiopian magic scrolls? Watch

Image of Hundreds of Ethiopian religious scrolls now reside in Washington D.C.

By Adelaide Mena (CNA/EWTN News)

With a recent gift of more than 600 handmade leather manuscripts, the Catholic University of America is now home to one of the most important collections of Ethiopian religious manuscripts in the United States. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - The collection includes ... continue reading


Rest in Peace Father Michael Scanlan. My First Spiritual Father Has Died Watch

Image of Fr Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., when I knew him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

My heart is broken. My eyes are blurred from the tears I have shed. I lost a spiritual father. At least I lost him from this life. But, heaven has gained a new champion. The Church has gained a powerful intercessor. Dance that Irish jig my friend, my father, my ... continue reading


Why Was Jesus Baptized and What Does that Baptism REALLY Mean? Watch

Image of The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan is also called the Theophany, or manifestation of God in the Christian Tradition.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This deeper significance is the reason for the Baptism of Jesus and its baptismal connection for us is why, in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the clergy often lead the faithful to rivers and entire rivers are blessed on this day! One of the first ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood cons millions from public health programs - New report tells all Watch

Image of Planned Parenthood is a con.

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

Audits showing Planned Parenthood's alleged misuse of federal funds are further proof that the organization should be barred from receiving federal money, pro-life advocates say. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "The extent of waste and abuse in the nation's family ... continue reading


Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord: As the Magi Seek, So Should We Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The first sentence of this Sunday's gospel (Mt 2:1-12) presents us with a contrast between three figures: Jesus, Herod the Great, and the magi who search the night for the focal point of a star's light, the newborn king of the Jews. Herod stands in between, not as a ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 6:10-20
10 God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 4-5, 9-10
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my heart, in the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 2:23-28
23 It happened that one Sabbath day he was taking a walk through the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 17th, 2017 Image

St. Anthony the Abbot
January 17: Two Greek philosophers ventured out into the ... Read More