FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
BRINGING IN THE HARVEST
July 5, 2011
Today’s reading: Matthew 9:32-38
Today’s gospel again speaks about Jesus’ mission, which is also our mission in CFC-FFL. As we continue with our work after 30 years, God once again reminds us of why He raised and restored us, and that is, to send us forth to do mission. (Please see “On Evangelization and Mission (Part 9)” about “Jesus’ Mission, Our Mission,” issued last December 4, 2010).
“Jesus went around to all the towns and villages” (Mt 9:35a). We too, together with the whole Church, are sent to every person and to every place in the world. Our mission in CFC-FFL is rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization.
Jesus went “teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.” (Mt 9:35b). This corresponds to our evangelistic work of continuing formation for our members, of proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus, and of total human liberation. We invite people to our CLSs, but that is just the start of a very long process of formation in Christ, with the goal of holiness and Christian perfection. Thus the desirability of Christian community. Through the process of transformation in Christ through the years, we become whole and begin to experience life in its abundance. We are freed from the dominion of the enemy, and no one is left in need.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has given his life for his sheep. He has already won salvation for us all. He has already made it possible for us to live a life of abundance, here and certainly in the hereafter. Despite this, many people are still troubled and abandoned, living like sheep without a shepherd. This moves Jesus’ heart to pity.
Our work is to help gather God’s sheep. Our work ought to please Jesus, as he sees more people whom he has died for coming into a vibrant life in him. We please Jesus as we live our lives for him, and as we evangelize more and more.
Now Jesus has brought us into Christian community. Even for those who have been brought into the sheepfold, there is a need for continuing evangelization, as we live out the fullness of the gospel in our lives. People need instruction, correction, counsel, encouragement, inspiration, and so on. As such, there is also a need for shepherds after God’s own heart. These are the servant leaders in community.
Moses was used by God to establish His people Israel. Moses, in looking to his successor, said to God, “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all mankind, set over the community a man who shall act as their leader in all things, to guide them in all their actions; that the Lord’s community may not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (Nm 27:16-17). From the Servant General, to the District Servants, to the Chapter Servants, and all the other servant leaders, God’s call is for them to pastor His people.
The servant leaders have a great responsibility, to keep the mission going, and to ensure that the community members do not become like sheep without a shepherd. Since they stand in the very sandals of Jesus, they are to strive to be like him in every way. They are to grow in holiness, and act in complete commitment and obedience to the Father. The rest of the brethren in turn must give the servant leaders their active submission and all-out support.
When community gets its act together, according to the ways of God, then it will become an effective and fruitful instrument. Then there will be an abundant harvest. The harvest will be abundant because Jesus has already won salvation for all on the cross, and their salvation is the will and desire of God. But in the mystery of God’s ways, He has also made Himself dependent upon His people to bring in the harvest.
Right now, the laborers for the harvest are few (Mt 9:37). Many Catholics are nominal. Many of those who are active in church do not evangelize, that is, actively bring people into the sheepfold. There is a dire need for more laborers.
In CFC-FFL, every member ought to be an evangelizer. Jesus has already issued the great commission, telling his disciples to go into the whole world to proclaim the gospel to all. Let us pray for the grace to respond. Let us continually “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Mt 9:38). And let us certainly do our part.
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