by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 10: 1-16
The instructions and advices given to the seventy Messengers by our Lord Jesus, prior to sending them for the field work is the theme of today's Gospel reading. We know that almost a similar code of conduct was given to the blessed Apostles, before sending them for the trial of Gospel work. (As mentioned in St. Matthew 10: 1 ff) But we could find a special or additional advice in the second verse of today's reading. Our Lord declares: harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: Therefore you pray to the Lord of Harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest."
This statement is important and true even today as in the case of yesteryears. Our Lord is asking us to oblige the same need. Let us try to find out whether we are capable to identify the voice of our Lord God. Our Lord God is continuously reminding us and asking us to act on our part. The voice of our Lord doesn't fall into our ears as we are already under the pressure of the selfish motives and desires.
In above mentioned verse, our Lord ascertains that Lord God is the Lord of the harvest. It will be nice if the contemporary laborers of His fields would make sure that they retain the status of laborer, rather than claiming themselves as masters. The Lord God is the sole authority of the harvest. It is nice to remember that the laborers have no right or claim to be the masters of the harvest. In the current world, all laborers are pretending and assuming that they are the real masters. This sort of thinking is a curse of the present day life. Thirdly our Lord reminds that the laborers are selected by God the Father and He only sends the laborers to the fields. No one of the laborer could claim that he became a laborer because of his own qualities or abilities.
In the second epistle of St. Paul to Thessalonians, (Chapter 3:1-2) we read, "Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with you; And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men for all men do not have faith." St. Paul is to pray for the laborers engaged in the field work of the holy Gospel. The celebrants of the Holy Eucharist in our Church request the congregation to pray for the clergy by the time they might disperse the congregation after providing the benediction. The request is based on this verse. But we must make sure ourselves how many of us are listening and obeying the call. But it is a fact that the number of faithful who are interested to pray for the clergy is decreasing. The modern faithful is interested in criticizing the clergy instead of praying for them. We have to rectify our poor condition. Unless and until the celebrant and the congregation are not united in peace, we cannot have the desired blessings from the Sacraments. The faithful who might attend the Holy Eucharist is bound to pray for the celebrant and the similar clergy while the celebrant would pray for all human beings on the earth, from the time of Adam till the current time. When the congregation might pray for the clergy and the clergy would pray for the faithful, the heaven would rejoice and shower blessings on earth and humanity.
Now let us listen to the 16th verse of today's reading. "He that hears you hears me: and he that despises you despises me; and he that despises me despises him that sent me". How nicely our Lord has presented the ones working in His fields? This is the base of the respect and honor granted to the clergy in our Holy Church. The clergy as a whole were considered as Ambassadors of God, who often participate in the salvation process of God, in the yester years. When the clergy become instrumental for the participation of the salvation process of God Almighty, and take a position of representing our Lord God to continue the salvation process, they are honored and they keep up a unique position in the Holy Church. In the Orthodox tradition, all Priests and Bishops are Fathers. They become instrumental for the rebirth in the Holy Spirit. Our Lord declares about the ones being sent for the continuation of His blessed salvation process in St. John 13:20. We read, "He that receives whomsoever I send receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me". St. Paul also advises not to despise the clergy. In 1 Thessalonians 4:8 we read, "He that despises, do not despise man, but God who has given Holy Spirit unto us".
Let us try to keep aloof from despising. Let us pray for our clergy and grant them the due respect.
May God bless us all.
The Mission of the Seventy by Rev. Fr. Dr. Parackel K. Mathew
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