Gospel: Mt 9:32-38
As they were going away, some people brought to Jesus a man who was dumb, because he was possessed by a demon. When the demon was driven out, the dumb man began to speak. The crowds were astonished and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.“ But the Pharisees said, “He drives away demons with the help of the prince of demons.“
Jesus went around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom; and he cured every sickness and disease. When he saw the crowds, he was moved with pity; for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are only few. Ask the master of the harvest to send workers to gather his harvest.“
“The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few….“
There used to be a common misconception that only priests or religious are called to do the work of evangelization. Lay people who try to actively participate in the life and mission of the Church are playfully referred to as pseudo-priests. Lay preaching is often associated with Protestants and Fundamentalists than with Catholicism. Obviously, we seem to have not really taken to heart what the Second Vatican Council said about evangelization as our common vocation–clergy, religious and laypeople alike. “All share a true equality with regard to the dignity and the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ.“ (Lumen Gentium, 32)
Thus when Jesus asked his disciples to pray that “the master of the harvest send more laborers to gather his harvest,“ the call was not addressed just to a few but to all who are baptized Christians. The laity are expected no longer just to say “amen“ and to “pray, pay and obey.“ Thankfully, lay people have assumed a more active role in the Church as shown in their participation in various ministries in Church as well as in Basic Ecclesial Communities, renewal movements and covenanted communities. The fidelity and success of the church depends on its members-clergy, religious and lay people alike.