When we hear these words from today's Gospel we are likely to
concentrate on the second part of the sentence.
We bemoan the shortage of priests. We pray for an increase of
vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. The Church puts a
lot of resources and effort into encouraging and fostering and
supporting vocations. And this is all very good.
But we have less confidence about the first part of this sentence: the
harvest is rich. Not only do we not give it much thought, we probably
wonder whether it is true. There seems to be less and less interest in
the practice of the faith. The church, Christian viewpoints and ideas
are pushed to the edge of society. Even those who call themselves
Catholics do not seem to feel it important to come to mass or live
according to the teachings of the Church. Not much to harvest here.
But look again. People have never been more interested in the
supernatural, in strange firms of spirituality, in horoscopes and
fortune telling, in weird and wonderful beliefs and ideas. And people
still ask the most basic questions - what is the meaning of life? Why
do people suffer? What happens when we die? Why is there evil in the
world? However intelligent or ingenious human beings may be, these
questions do not go away.
There is a rich harvest. And we have the answer. We have a true, not
fanciful spirituality. We have a historical, not a fantastical faith.
We have solid evidence for what we believe. Real answers to the
questions of life. A challenging and fulfilling moral code, based on
love and happiness, and a real hope for life beyond this life.
The harvest is rich. Really rich.
And we have the tools for the harvest.
And each one of us is a labourer in the field.
Fr Peter Weatherby