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William Manaker S.J.Jul 9, 2024 12:00:00 AM1 min read

9 July 2024

Optional Memorial of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, priest, and companions, martyrs

Today’s Gospel reading presents us with the scene of great crowds flocking to Jesus to hear the word of God and to be cured of their diseases and infirmities. Jesus responds to the crowds first with compassion and then with a directive to his disciples: The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

With good reason, this concluding verse of the Gospel is often taken as a mandate to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, since clergy and religious are tasked with explicitly preaching the Gospel and bringing in a harvest of new Christians. This role is vital in the life of the Church, and so it is imperative for us to pray that many will hear and respond to the Lord’s call to serve their brothers and sisters in this way.

But there is a danger in thinking that once we have prayed for priestly and religious vocations, we’ve fulfilled our duty. While clergy and religious have an explicit role to play in gathering the Lord’s harvest, each and every Christian is called and sent as a laborer in the Lord’s vineyard by virtue of his or her baptism and in accord with their particular vocation and profession. The way in which each Christian interacts with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and those they serve is itself an apostolate, a mission, a way of watering and tending the Lord’s fields and preparing for harvest.

Today, then, let us reflect on the way in which Christ has called us to participate in the labor of his harvest, asking for the grace to see each moment—even the most mundane!—as an opportunity to sow the seeds of the Kingdom.