Living the Gospel – July 7, 2019

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“At that time the Lord appointed Seventy-Two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place that he intended to visit.”

As the gospel of Luke unfolds, Jesus tells his disciples that the harvest is plentiful. Jesus simply sees people in need; he sees the men and women who so desperately need direction, meaning, purpose and true love in their lives. Note his instructions to his disciples. They are to share in the hospitality of the homes opened to them and while visiting they should focus on the needs of those around them, healing their sick, proclaiming hope, and announcing God’s blessing. If we look to statistics about church growth in our world today, we’re likely to despair and assume that the harvest has withered on the vine and that our best days are behind us. But if we look to statistics – and stories – of people in need, then we realize that there has never been a better time for the church to be the community of Jesus, reaching out in blessing and good news to heal the sick, feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, and befriend the lonely. There are more people – quite literally – who need to hear of God’s grace and be touched by God’s love than ever before. So many are searching for peace, purpose, lasting love and hope for the future; but so many are searching to find it in all the wrong places. Jesus is calling each and every one of us to be laborers in this harvest. We are invited everyday by Jesus to announce the Good News by the way we treat those we come in contact with each day, especially our own family members. The way we treat each other speaks volumes about our faith . St. Teresa of Avila has a well-known saying, reminding us that now we carry on the ministry that Jesus gave us:

  • Christ has no body on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours.
  • Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world.
  • Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
  • Yours are the hands with which he is to bless others now.

But mark this: such work, while deeply rewarding, is never easy – the challenges are great, not everyone is easy to love. But, Jesus sends us out just as he did his first disciples, not promising an easy path, but promising so much more – eternal happiness. Let us then pray to the Lord of the harvest to send us out as laborers, grant us vision, and sustain us with hope, for indeed the harvest is plentiful.

Sylvia Bates