The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Matthew 9:37-38
In our readings today we have two striking agricultural images, one from the Old Testament and one from the Gospel. The first warns us that, “The stalk of grain that forms no ear can yield no flour.” It speaks of wheat growing a stalk, but not fulfilling its purpose, to provide nourishment in the form of flour. Pope Francis says something of this when speaking of evangelization. He says, “Be so [evangelizing] without being presumptuous, imposing “our truths,” but rather be guided by the humble yet joyful certainty of those who have been found, touched and transformed by the Truth who is Christ (Homily, Domus Sanctae Marthae, February 27, 2014). We can not be a “presumptuous” stalk of wheat, providing no flour. We are encouraged to develop our own deep relationship with Christ and share this throughout our lives. As the saying goes, attributed to his namesake St. Francis, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Pope Francis says further, “It will be your witness that brings him the restlessness on which the Holy Spirit works.” By living our lives in the sure knowledge that the kingdom of God is at hand, we will be true witnesses to that truth.
In the Gospel Jesus reminds us that the people living this truth are few. This should not discourage us, but spur us to further efforts. The world is in great need of the Good News that we can, each and every one of us, live and experience the kingdom of God right now. How inspiring this is when I let it fully penetrate my thoughts and feelings. If the kingdom is truly here, how can I hold anger in my heart for my neighbor, even if he cuts me off in traffic? Even if she is campaigning for the wrong candidate? Even if he is late for an important meeting? When I allow the kingdom of God to become manifest between us, how can I hold others in any way but Christian love?
My prayer for today is that I witness to the kingdom with everyone I meet, to the best of my ability, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Talib Huff volunteers and works at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights. You may contact him at [email protected].