Planning the Harvest
This might be a weekend you are turning on an out of office message and enjoying some well-deserved time to relax. Many of us are gathering for fireworks and barbecues, taking advantage of a long weekend with hopefully good weather. I have grown up in and still live in the Midwest, so as I drive by fields of corn this weekend, I am looking to see if they are “knee high by the fourth of July” to ensure a good harvest.
In today’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus is not measuring corn in anticipation of the harvest. Jesus reminds us that the harvest is already abundant. The harvest is the people He has come to save, those who will hear the good news and believe. Just as a farmer plans for the planting and harvesting of their crop, so Jesus must plan how to reach all of the people. The laborers are few, but those laborers present are willing to work.
Today, “the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” God relies on us to plan His harvest. We are, to borrow from another parable in the Gospel of Matthew, the good seed that falls on good soil. We must work to spread the news, prepare the way, and share the Kingdom of God.
The appointed went out, completed their tasks according to the directions given, and returned to Jesus before the end of the reading. They are amazed at the power they have over Satan and demons. They know that the harvest will be successful, and that people will come to believe in Christ. They rejoice when they share this good news with Jesus.
Jesus has one more piece of wisdom today, however. As tempted as we are to celebrate and proclaim that the laborers hold power over Satan and those who will ill on people of Christ, we must remember why we rejoice. The final words of today’s Gospel remind us “do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” That is the true reason to follow the teachings of Christ.