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The Harvest is Abundant But the Laborers are Few

By Deacon Keith Fournier
October 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I believe we are alive at the beginning of 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.   

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In the Gospel (Luke 10:1-12) we heard the account of the sending of the seventy two disciples by Jesus Christ. They stand for all who, under the care of the Apostles, would participate in and continue His redemptive mission after His Resurrection and Ascension.

The call to this ongoing mission 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 name!
There is a desperate need for laborers in this very hour and the harvest is abundant.

In a homily preached on this Gospel passage, 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 proclamation and invitation will be accomplished in this hour by you and me, no matter what our state in life, or specific vocation.

We are all baptized into 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 transformative 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 pre-Christian 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 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 already 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 whole 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)

The Lord who birthed the Church from His wounded side on Golgotha's Hill and died for her is  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 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.  

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