I read the story of Pentecost in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and I think back to my Confirmation in eighth grade. I read about the Apostles and their amazing response to the Holy Spirit. They were given the gift of courage to boldly proclaim the Gospel and they were given the gift of language so that the Gospel could be proclaimed to the Gentiles. I sometimes wonder why I did not have a similar response to the outpouring of the Spirit at my Confirmation.
Men and women of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, "why do you stand looking into heaven"? Of course this is the question posed by the two men in white robes standing by the disciples on the mount called Olivet. Acts 1:11. These angels were bringing the apostles back to reality, as if they were saying, "enough of the cloud gazing - it is time to get to work." It is a question that is meant for each of us. What are we waiting for? It is time to get to work. What is this work?
If today's Gospel did not stop you in your tracks, please take a moment and consider this text: "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26. Let that sink in for a moment.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Matthew 9:36-37.
Have you ever considered yourself a laborer for Christ? Dorothy Day was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement and was a true laborer for Christ. She urged that along with the works of mercy, feeding, clothing, and sheltering our brothers, we must also indoctrinate and give reason for the faith that is in us. If we do not, Day stated that we were scattered members of the body of Christ and not all members of one another. Christ calls us to reach out to others and to help with the harvest. Day said that keeping our religion to ourselves makes it an opiate for us alone, for our own comfort and individual safety. This certainly goes against the culture, where the expectation is that religion is something private and should not be a subject of public discourse. The harvest is all around you. Will you answer the call?