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Thursday, September 30, 1999

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St. Jerome

Nehemiah 8:1-4, 5-6, 7-12
Psalm 19
Luke 10:1-12

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"saying grace"

"The harvest is rich but the workers are few; therefore ask the Harvest-Master to send workers to His harvest." —Luke 10:2

Jesus told His disciples they shouldn't expect Him to provide even a roof over their heads (Lk 9:58). Jesus told them to respond to His call immediately and that the slightest hesitation would make them unfit for God's kingdom (Lk 9:62). After making such extreme demands on His disciples, Jesus remarked: "The harvest is rich but the workers are few." The obvious reaction to this statement would be to blame Jesus for the scarcity of workers because He demands too much of them. Jesus has a different reaction. He doesn't see any need to water down the call to radical discipleship; He just exhorts us to pray for the Harvest-Master to send workers.

Jesus does not try to sell us but rather to "grace" us. He warned us we'll be like "lambs in the midst of wolves" (Lk 10:3). He promised to send us out without walking staff, traveling bag, or sandals (Lk 10:4). Jesus doesn't try to make discipleship easier. In fact, He seems to intentionally make it harder. True discipleship is impossible without His grace, which is always sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).

When we see a scarcity of priests, sisters, brothers, lay ministers, or parishioners, the answer to the problem is not to compromise and call for less commitment. Instead, the solution is to proclaim the radical nature of the gospel and pray more intensely for workers to obey God's call.

Prayer:  Father, help me to see the situations where I desperately need Your grace.

Promise:  "Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!" —Neh 8:10

Praise:  St. Jerome's translation of the Holy Scriptures insured that several centuries of Christians could read the word of God.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 22, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 24, 1999