Abundant Harvest and Lumen Fidei

The harvest is abundant. (Luke 10:2)

One of the themes Pope Francis highlights in his encyclical on faith is this: Faith involves hearing a promise made by God, remembering it constantly, and looking forward to its fulfillment.

The promise of an abundant harvest goes all the way back to our father Abraham. God, the true God, the personal God—the God who makes a beautiful promise to us, speaking to us in our words—He established an alliance with Abraham. He made Abraham His partner in the unfolding of His Providence.

Pope-Francis-Lumen-FideiYou! Old man, aging shepherd: Do as I tell you. Wander into a new land. You will have many, many, many descendants. You consider yourself half-dead with old age. But your and Sarah’s fruitfulness will surpass even your wildest imaginings. Just do as I say, my friend. I’m not forcing you. You are free. But just do as I say, and the harvest will be wonderfully abundant.

A promise. Abraham believed it. Abraham’s life became a friendship with the Almighty One Who can and does fulfill such incomprehensible promises. Abraham never grasped what it was all about. Abraham waited to his dying day for it all to make sense. Then he waited almost two thousand years in the limbo of the fathers, until he saw the Christ of God in the womb of the Virgin. He believed all along: The harvest is abundant.

But: The laborers are few. Because the first and decisive task is to believe. When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?

We human beings like to know stuff. No harm there; we were made to know stuff.

But isn’t this the first thing we know, namely that the God Who made us and governs all things—that He is immeasurably greater than anything we can know? We know for sure that we do not know Him.

The only way to enter into this great alliance with the Master of the abundant harvest is to believe. Not blindly, like an ignorant person, but wisely, like a sage: I have studied this. I know that I cannot know the power, the mind, the love of the Creator. So I simply take Him at His word.

The wise man acknowledges to himself: My own lights do not always serve me so well. I’m full of changeable moods. I get tired. I make mistakes. Often, I can’t think straight.

But the Lord says that the harvest is abundant. It’s not just a bargaining stratagem; it’s not just a partisan perspective; it’s not just a story. It’s the Word of God Himself. The harvest is abundant. The poor and meek and merciful will be blessed. The kingdom of heaven is coming.

Ok. I believe. I believe the Word of God. We believe. To believe is our first labor.

The rest of the job gets easy–once we let go of knowing the big picture and simply believe that God does. Let me just do my little job, right here and now. The harvest will be abundant.

One thought on “Abundant Harvest and Lumen Fidei

  1. Father Mark,

    The reading from Nehemiah has always transfixed me, the people weeping as they listened to the Law. Then, the Psalm, “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.” Then the human wisdom of the Gospel, two by two:

    9 Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil.
    10 If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help.
    11 So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm?
    12 Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord* is not easily broken. [Ecclesiastes 4].

    I always liked the implication of the three-ply cord: where two (or more) are together, God is there with them.

    In short, today’s readings are gangbusters; no need to talk, just soak it in.

    In God we trust.



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