“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”

In today’s gospel (Lk 10:1-12) Jesus appoints seventy-two disciples to go ahead of Him to the various towns He intended to visit.  Jesus begins His send-off with the words above, asking that they pray for more help.  Then He gives them their instructions: take nothing with you, greet no one along the way, stay at a peaceable man’s house the entire time taking what is offered, cure the sick, and proclaim the Kingdom.  Any town that doesn’t accept them they are to reject and leave while that town awaits a worse punishment than Sodom when the Kingdom comes.  The headline is often quoted when prayers for religious vocations are said or encouraged.  And that’s a very good thing.  With the number of priests and religious declining we should ask God to inspire men and women to prayerfully discern if they are being called to the consecrated life.  But we are not to leave it there.  Christ calls us all to be “laborers in the vineyard” of the world.  A life devoted to prayer, good works, and evangelization is meant for all of us.  We don’t compartmentalize our beliefs but they should completely penetrate us and then exude from us.  When not explicitly praying, we must strive to make every moment an implicit prayer through doing all things well and with love.  Honest and honorable behavior, treating every person with dignity and putting others first, should be a part of life at home, in the workplace, in public, and in private.  Our evangelization may primarily consist of this.  Then when people ask from where this behavior comes , we can “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for [our] hope” (1 Pt 3:15).  Through this we may reap many souls for the harvest, not least of all our own.

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