The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin Reflection
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Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin
June 14, 2002 Issue

Wanted: laborers to share God's love

As disciples we are called to give to others the mercy God gives to us

June 16, 2002, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Bishop Robert Morneau

Bishop Robert Morneau
Robert Morneau

Questions for reflection:

1. What is your favorite form of prayer?

2. What petitions do you fill to make this day?

3. Is our vocation essentially the same for all?

Prayer comes in many forms: petition (help), forgiveness (oops), thanksgiving (thanks), and praise (wow). We are invited to lift up our minds and hearts to the living God for all kinds of reasons. One reason, expressed in today's Gospel, is to ask (petition) "the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

In other words, we are to pray for vocations. The harvest is vast, so many people and nations are in need of God's redemptive, loving presence. Priests, religious women and brothers are called to full time ministry in the Church. We need more, many more laborers.

Moses is instructed that for those who heed God's voice and keep the covenant a holy nation will arise, a kingdom of priests. The common priesthood is for all. Whoever is faith-filled and obedient, participate in the priestly life of Jesus. Some individuals are called in an official, public way into the ministerial priesthood, presiding at Eucharist, forgiving sins in the name of the Church, anointing those who are troubled, sick, or abandoned. All the baptized are to proclaim the kingdom through the work of evangelization.

Another petition and one that impacts on vocations is to ask the Lord to strengthen our families. Someone once stated that she considered parenting the most difficult vocation in the world. It would be interesting to have some historical data regarding the home life of the apostles. What were the values in the house wherein Peter and Andrew were raised? How did Zebedee and his wife treat James and John? And did Judas Iscariot know love by his parents and relatives?

Each of us can reflect back on our upbringing: meal conversations, family outings, the guests who came -- invited and uninvited, how conflicts were resolved or simply ignored. The environment of our home rivals our genetic make-up in shaping our personalities and our vocation. Blessed, indeed, the person who, in those early, formative years experienced God's love through caring parents.

Another petition: peace for our world and our Church. Whether we speak of sexual abuse or violence in the Middle East, we are all sick with worry over so many individuals and victims who are troubled. St. Paul reminds us, and he does so forcefully, that in all of this God still loves us and that in Jesus we have someone who died even while we were still sinners. Amazing grace. Incredible love.

And yet another petition: for generosity. If healing is to come to the world, then every one of us must take seriously the Gospel call: "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give." Discipleship is about generosity. It is giving to others the mercy that God gives to us; it is giving to others the love and forgiveness we experience at the foot of the cross; it is giving to others our deepest compassion.

Some days we are to say wow and thanks, some days we are to ask for help and beg for forgiveness. Always we are to attune our minds and hearts to the sound of God's voice and to respond as fully as we can to the vocation that is ours. In the end our vocation is the same: to receive and give away God's love. When we do this, we will truly be a priestly people.

(Bp. Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.)

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