BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu

Our Gospel passage today recalls the very popular phrase of Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.” Why is there such an imbalance? And believe it or not, from the time of Jesus up till this day, the labourers have never really been enough for the ever abundant harvest.

Those who find themselves embracing the work of God are always overwhelmed with too much to do even to the point of mental exhaustion, fatigue, burn-out and even depression. Sometimes, those who get to do God’s work get too busy with the work of God that they forget the God of the work. Why should this be the case?

I have come to the conclusion that the reason why there are so few labourers is not because God does not like to call people but there are so many labourers who have been called already but still do not even know they are labourers. To put it simply, we all are labourers in the house of God but we tend to make the terrible mistake of assuming God’s word is strictly for the ordained ministers or professed religious.

To copy words from Monsignor Nwaezeapu’s homily at the recent priestly and diaconate ordination in Lagos, “many of us are merely sacramentalized, but are not properly evangelized or converted even at the most fundamental level. The overwhelming majority of our lay faithful do not have the culture of sharing the Gospel. They still believe that the work of evangelization is the business of the Clergy and the Religious.

“In a study in the U.S., in response to the Question: Is spreading the Gospel a priority for your Church? 76% of the Protestants answered Yes; 57% of the African American Churches answered Yes; but only 6% of Catholics saw the spreading of the Gospel as a priority.

“The vast majority of the Societies and Groups in our Church are not mission- conscious. Ask them how many non- Christians or non-Catholics or former Catholics they bring into the Church every year and you will be amazed that it is zero, perhaps, with the exception of the Legionaries and the Charismatics. Yet, the first sign of a spiritually healthy Church or society is its ability to go out on mission…

“All Catholics have charisms (the spiritual gifts) the Holy Spirit bestowed on us during Baptism and Confirmation for the building up of the Church, but sadly, over 90% of us do not even know this and do not use these gifts, to the detriment of the Church’s mission and growth. Worse still, many have gone to their graves carrying these used gifts with them.”

Do not go to your grave carrying your gift with you. The fact that you are not a priest or sister does not mean you are not a labourer in God’s vineyard. The truth is that if only you begin to explore and use your gift, you may end up winning more souls and doing more for God than those who are ordained. Yes. This is the truth.

In our first reading this morning, we see how the people were touched when they heard the word of God read to them by Ezra the priest. But the fact is that this reading of the book of the Law would not have been possible without the assistance/ cooperation of Nehemiah the governor.

Just imagine how much good you would do as a Governor, a commissioner, a minister when you are committed to spreading the word of God? Why is that Christians in government do not even care about promoting their faith? Why do we suddenly become repulsive of God or talking about God when we handle public office?

Why are we scared of championing our faith in the name of “not every citizen is a Christian” or “this is a secular state.” How come only Christians believe in secularization or the so called separation of church and state? If a Muslim gets into office, he does all he can to promote his religion, he could even be accused of Islamizing the state but what stops Christians in power from Christianizing the state?

Why are we so lukewarm as Christians? Why do we believe only priests and religious should do God’s work? Do we even realize without our help, they can’t do much?

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me give my best as your labourer. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Nehemiah 8:1-12 and Luke 10:1-12).

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