We are called to labor together as a team to proclaim the Kingdom of God

Carla Oliver

Living the Word / By Carla Oliver

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time / July 3

Isaiah 66:10-14c; Psalm 66:1-3,4-5,6-7,16,20; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12,17-20

Have you ever taken the time to examine your daily life? Recently, in a conversation with one of my beloved spiritual fathers, he made a simple comment about how he is able to experience peace and move forward after a hard day because of the habitual practice of offering up his short fallings through the practice of a nightly “examen.”

This really struck me and motivated me to make the examen prayer a part of my daily life. Since taking up the practice of doing a daily examen, I have found that it is an exercise of self-revelation — how I am using my gifts and talents for the sake of God’s kingdom, where I am placing my priorities, my worth, and at times, even my identity. I have even become aware of an increased focus on one of the most essential foundations of the human life: that each of us were uniquely created to know and love Jesus. As Christians, we are then invited — and required — to make Him known and loved.

Jesus appointed and sent out 72 others in order to share in the work of evangelization, setting the example of how the church would continue His mission forever.

This invitation is clearly conveyed in Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus appointed and sent out 72 others in order to share in the work of evangelization, setting the example of how the church would continue His mission forever. Jesus’ mission model hasn’t changed. There is still plenty of work to go around. He still calls disciples into mission. What He said to His first disciples is a message that is just as prevalent to His church today: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Luke 10:2).

SERVING OTHERS OR SELF?

While we might be tempted to feel unworthy because our habits in our daily life expose our fragility, the mercy of God is what restores us to fullness — and creates in us the space to be receptive to peace. He does not call you to be a laborer because you are the best. He is calling you to be faithful.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about getting to actively participate in the Christian life is that God asks us to labor together — as a team. Like the 72, we have each been appointed, through our baptism, to live out this call of proclaiming the Kingdom. God calls you personally and specifically to offer your gifts for the harvest. I have experienced that when I have been able to use my gifts and talents to enhance, support, and cultivate the talents of my community, it has allowed my team to bear great fruit for the harvest. What abundance would there be if we all believed that we were called to use our talents and gifts in the same way?

This week let us take up the practice of examining our daily lives. How have we offered our gifts for the sake of the harvest? Have we lived for the glory of the Kingdom by serving the Harvest Master, or have we served only ourselves?

Let us ask the Master of the Harvest, to send us out as laborers for His harvest.

CARLA OLIVER is the administrative assistant in the diocesan Office of Vocations. In addition to teaching for four years, she served for two years as a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), which included leading Bible studies. She can be reached at coliver@cdop.org.

 

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