And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38).
In the gospel today (Matthew 9:32-38) we witness the compassion Jesus had for the crowds who had been living for such a long time in spiritual darkness. Their leaders had failed them. It was to these the Lord had come. He asked His disciples to pray for laborers to work the harvest.
In 1993, Pope Saint John Paul II was at the World Youth Day in Denver. He reminded the gathered youth that Jesus had come for those whose deepest desires were for the love of God, even if they were far from God. And he reminded them that just as Jesus called for laborers to tend the harvest 2,000 years ago, laborers are needed in our time too, because the harvest is still great:
“Jesus went in search of the men and women of his time. He engaged them in an open and truthful dialogue, whatever their condition. As the Good Samaritan of the human family, he came close to people to heal them of their sins and of the wounds which life inflicts, and to bring them back to the Father’s house. Young people of ‘World Youth Day,’ the Church asks you to go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to those who are near and those who are far away. Share with them the freedom you have found in Christ. People thirst for genuine inner freedom. They yearn for the Life which Christ came to give in abundance. The world at the approach of a new millennium, for which the whole Church is preparing, is like a field ready for the harvest. Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyard. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail him. In your hands, carry the Cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of Life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord.” (Saint John Paul II, Denver Homily, 15 August 1993)
The Lord has come to bring life in abundance, and He desires us to help spread that Good News. “The Harvest is Great, the Laborers Few.” May each of us respond to this calling with faith and love.