Skip to comments.Do your work, and leave the harvest to God and the one to whom he assigns it.
Posted on 03/25/2014 2:25:22 AM PDT by markomalley
In the Gospel from this past Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, an important teaching is given by Jesus on sewing seeds and reaping harvests. The teaching has special importance for us who live in a modern, technological age which is so insistent on instant results. So easily we become resentful and discouraged when our efforts not yield quick fruits, or when solutions take time.
We often take these attitudes to our spiritual life as well. Perhaps we think our progress is slow. Perhaps too, we are frustrated that we have prayed for someones conversion for years, and we think that little or nothing has come from it. Yes, too often, we fail to remember that there is a delay between the sowing of the seed in the reaping of the harvest. Indeed, there are usually many months which pass between the sewing of the seed in the reaping the harvest.
In our technological, instant update, instant download, Internet culture we have lost the patient insight of the farmer. Thus, we do well to listen carefully to what Jesus teaches us about sowing and reaping.
The context of his teaching takes place in the aftermath of an interaction he had with a Samaritan Woman at the well. Having helped her to clarify her desires and called her to conversion, she is now beginning to experience living waters as a result of the conversation, the dialogue and journey she has made with Jesus. She has left her water jar and joyfully run to town to bring others to the Lord Jesus. The disciples return, and were puzzled that Jesus was speaking with a woman, something not very common in that modest but also segregated culture. In answer to their concerns Jesus speaks about harvest, about reaping and sewing and I need to appreciate both aspects of life:
Do you not say, In four months the harvest will be here? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest! (John 4:35)
And thus, as Jesus begins his teaching on sowing and reaping. He reminds them of the delay between the sowing of the seed and the reaping the harvest. And while he is overjoyed as he sees the harvest, the Samaritans walking across the field toward him, he is quick to remind the apostles of the four months delay between sowing and reaping.
Yes, Jesus is about to enjoy the harvest. But perhaps his mind goes back to his many years preparing for ministry, living and working humbly in Nazareth. Perhaps too he thinks of his forty days in the desert; or his many difficult days walking throughout Galilee preaching, calling disciples, naming apostles. Yes, the months of toil and difficulty, misunderstandings, and hostility of others, the slowness of the apostles to understand, the long journey to Samaria, and the long conversation with the Samaritan woman in the heat of the day.
Yes, the sowing of the seed was but the beginning. Great labor and time were required for the harvest.
But now harvest is here, and how glorious it looks as a Samaritans in their white robes come across the field toward him.
Jesus goes on to say,
For here the saying is verified that One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.(Jn 4:37-38)
And here too is another very important lesson about sowing and reaping. We often sow seeds that we ourselves will not be able to reap; others will. And we too also reap the harvests of seeds others have sown and tended.
As a priest, I most often walk into buildings that I did not build and minister to congregations I did not found. Others have done this, and I am grateful for everything I harvest from their many hard works. In my last assignment I built a 5.5 million dollar building for youth. No sooner was the paint dry than I was transferred. Now others yield a harvest in that building that I struggled to build. But praise the Lord it is bearing fruit!
As a priest, it is not uncommon for the rectory doorbell to ring and someone will ask to speak to me. Some years ago and older man came to the rectory and said that his wife of 47 years had recently died. She had always prayed for him to be baptized, be he had always refused. But now that she was dead, somehow he knew it was time for him to be baptized. He asked me to prepare him. I joyfully reaped a harvest of seeds I did not sow. His wife sowed those seeds, and watered them with her tears. She did not live to see the harvest in this world, but in fact this with the harvest she had prayed and worked for. Shortly after his baptism, he died. And now they both enjoy the harvest.
Never give up. Harvests come, but there is time between the sowing the seeds and the reaping of the harvest. Too many today are easily discouraged at any delay, the separation in time between the sowing of the seed and the gathering of the harvest. But we must learn to accept this delay; any harvest takes time.
Many also do not like the hard work of planting seeds. They prefer only reap harvests. But of course life does not work that way. Scripture says, A man will only reap what he sows. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Cor 9:6) Scripture also speaks to the difficulty in sowing seeds: Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. But the same verse says of the harvest: they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves. (Ps 126:6)
But the Lord teaches us in this gospel not to be discouraged. There is some delay between the selling of the season the reaping the harvest. Jesus euphemistically refers to it as four months. But we all know it is sometimes longer than four months. The point is, there is some delay. Indeed, we may not even live to see some of the fruits of the seeds we sow. But even still, we often reap the harvest of those before us did not live to see the fruits of the seeds they sewed.
Listen carefully to what Jesus teaches here about sowing and reaping. Dont give up; keep sowing seed; sow it bountifully. Do not worry if you will see the harvest; just know that it is a good and holy thing to sow the seeds. The Lord will bring about the harvest where and when he sees fit. Scripture says And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal 6:9). And again, I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Cor 3:6-8)
Do your work; leave the harvest to God and the one whom he assigns it.
Msgr Pope ping
Sounds like "social justice" to me. You do the work and let 0 and his fellow democrats harvest the fruits of your labors.
Marxism camouflaged as a religious message...
Really? Sounds like St Paul to me:
But, hey, what do I know?
See post #5. It’s amazing how many people are deceived by Marxism. Paul of Tarsus should be ashamed of himself.
I’m not at all confused about Marxism. I see it and deal with it all day every day, in Washington, DC, Baton Rouge, the Lincoln Parish (Louisiana) Court House, and the Ruston, LA City Hall.
They take the fruits of MY labor, via taxes, and distribute it to people who had nothing to do with wealth creation. If some of the taxes are utilized for the common good (streets, sewers, a working legal system, etc), it is often by accident.
Apparently not enough to judge context. The devil can quote scripture.
And furthermore, that money (the fruit of my labor) is used by the political class to buy votes that are in direct conflict with enlightened self-interest.
But what did that have to do with Msgr Pope’s reflection? If you bothered to read it, you’d see that he was talking about speaking the Word to people and letting God worry about whether they receive it or not.
Now if you want to call that Marxism, then so be it.
Ah, yes. The classic Protestant response to a Catholic who actually dares to cite Scripture to him.
Your response has the same intellectual honesty as a leftist pulling the race card when he loses the argument.
Now, if you actually care to read what Msgr Pope wrote, I'd be interested to see where his words supported Marxism.
Or I'd be interested in hearing your apology for the calumny you committed.
One way or the other.
I read it. But the Marxists that use scripture to further their goals utilize such commentary to “prove” that one isn’t entitled to what they work for.
And people complain about me taking something out of context?
FRiend, you are making a huge leap of logic there...
Unless he’s stitching those seeds together, he’s SOWing them, not SEW
Dear GA & Abb,
You are missing the actual message of Jesus. We are to sow his message and not worry about how many are converted. Think of it this way, “We are not to put notches on our spiritual gun of how many people we can claim to have saved.”
The final talley of those saved by our sowing God’s and Jesus’s message of salvation is NOT ours to worry about, but it is only God’s to talley up. If your goal in spreading God’s message is only to build up a personal list of those “you have saved/lead to salvation” than, in my opinion, you are missing the mark of Jesus’s words and Msgr Pope’s homily
I can’t disagree with your post, but I didn’t get that out of the article at all.
This is a good teaching, I was wondering though if it applies to patience in general.
I have been suffering from tinnitus for the last couple of months. I have not been able to find peace with it even after offering it up to God. From this teaching today I’ve been wondering if this is a way I should be patient, waiting for the “harvest”.
What does anyone think about this? Or does anyone have any other Bible passages or other teachings of the Church that might be more useful in my situation?
Please pray for me too.
I’m not sure where you guys are getting any Marxist teaching out of what Msgr Pope has written here.
“.. leave the harvest to God and the one whom he assigns it.”. That’s not Marxist mentality, that’s simply stating God has a plan and it’s not always our plan, for when and how the harvest is done.
And I don’t know what kind of harvesting you guys have done, but when I’ve harvested vegetables out of a garden, it’s WORK too. So if the person harvesting is different than he that sowed the seed, it’s irrelevant, both are working for God.
Hardly “redistributing wealth”.
Not social justice — read the Gospel again. Christ is sowing the word in the Woman at the Well. Then she goes off and does more sowing in the townspeople.
Then both she and the Lord rejoice.
It’s about evangelization.....nothing else.
No money needs to be involved. AND IS NOT involved in this Gospel story. Please Read it again.
You guys getting Marxist teaching out of what Msgr. Pope has written must keep in mind that this is an analogy, a comparison of similar things which are otherwise dissimilar. It is not like a farmer planting his own seed and then someone comes along at harvest time to take the fruit away from him. We ourselves are part of God’s harvest. We are fruit that was harvested from seed planted by others, and the seed that we sow bears fruit that is added to the harvest, the body of Christ.
It is easy to cut open an orange, knead through it, and count the number of seeds in that orange. But it is impossible to take one of those seeds and count the number of oranges in that seed.
I completely agree with your post # 16.
Nice job! You have stated it well.
Okay, who’s actually read the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians and thinks that passage is promoting Marxism? Yikes.
Interesting. We studied this passage in Bible Study last week. We had the same conclusions as the Fr. does. Sometimes it’s our job to sow, sometimes our job to reap. Bottom line is that the harvest is plentiful, and we need to be faithful workers to whichever task we’re called to perform at all those times we’re called to perform it.
Why should we spread the gospel? Because as Christians, we are doing what Jesus commanded us to do. I say that those to whom you refer do not understand Jesus’s instructions to all of us who follow Him.
I’m not getting the Marxist connection here either. This was a good message.