THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN EVANGELIZATION
(A biblical reflection on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] – July 3, 2016)
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-12,17-20
First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalms: Psalm 66:1-7,16,20; Second Reading: Galatians 6:14-18
After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:1-12,17-20 RSV)
“Who, me?” That’s a typical reaction to the thought that Jesus has called us to go out and “bring in the harvest.” Almost instinctively, we seem to feel that this means we will have to spend all our time preaching and teaching about Jesus! But the key to lessening our anxiety about our calling is to realize that there are many, many ways in which we can accomplish this work. In fact, God wants to increase our vision so that we can better understand just how many different ways we really can spread the Gospel.
Direct teaching and preaching about the life, words, and actions of Jesus do make up an important part of labouring for the harvest, and most of us really are more capable of doing this than we think. There are many ways to learn: reading books about ways of sharing the Gospel with others; attending classes or programs about evangelization and faith-sharing; and simply talking with other Christians who have done this successfully in their lives.
But beyond specifically preaching about Jesus, there is much we can do. Acts of kindness, service, intercessory prayer, and living lives of faithfulness to our responsibilities are a few way. Think of how a kind word spoken at the right time, or a special card sent to someone lonely or hurting can lift their spirits. Think, too, about how a peaceful gesture in the midst of a time of conflict can halp defuse tension and soften someone’s heart. Even something as simple as a smile can help a person open themselves a little bit more to the love of God. And don’t forget prayer. That’s the one thing that all of us can do – and it is probably the most effective use of our time in helping prepare someone’s heart to receive the Good News about Christ.
Finally, remember that the mot important person in the work of bringing in the harvest is the Holy Spirit! He is in you! He wants to work through you to bring others to Jesus. So whatever you do as a worker in the fields of the Lord, let the Holy Spirit lead and guide you. Let Him show you how you can effectively labor to bring in the Lord’s harvest.
“Who me? Yes, you!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, send me out into the harvest today. Use me, Lord, in whatever way You have planned to help bring people to know You and Your love. Amen.
Jakarta, 30 June 2016
A Christian Pilgrim