On any given Sunday, laypeople hear this verse and automatically associate it with seminarians, clergy, or religious.
“Oh yeah, that’s the verse they use when praying for an increase of vocations to the priesthood. That’s their job anyway. So I’m off the hook.”
Perhaps, through no fault of their own, these lay folks have heard the public service announcements from the pulpit for an increase of people to live out lives of holiness in every vocation, except their own. They look around the church and see the statues and stained glass windows that display priests and religious with halos, while the lay people are usually the ones depicted in the fires of purgatory, reaching for Our Lady’s prayers because they barely made it. Yeah, there’s the Holy Family represented in most parishes, but let’s be honest, I think most people just figure that between the Christ child and the Immaculate Conception, it’s hard to measure up to that kind of holiness in the lay state.
The Second Vatican Council produced a document called Lumen Gentium, wherein the 5th chapter, the entire church was reminded that EVERYONE, without exception, is called to live lives of holiness in Christ Jesus. That means Karen, Bob, Paul, Jan, and little Suzy are called to be Saints. God wills it, He makes it possible with every gift, grace, and Sacrament, and that it is the call and destiny of each of His children. And it is this very work of God in each of us (that we participate in by saying yes) that also bears witness to our families, neighbors, and the world.
The harvest of souls that need to hear and accept the good news of the Gospel indeed is abundant, but the laborers are few. That is due in no small part because there remains a whole army of lay people that are spiritually asleep and have forgotten that they’re part of the team. By the way they nurture a life of prayer, love their spouse, raise their children, work diligently / ethically, contribute to society and culture, and also intentionally share their Catholic faith when the Holy Spirit prompts them to, the harvest is prepared for when the Lord will return in glory. Our priests and religious can only reach so many people. They cannot be present (as we are) in our homes, workplaces, and opportunities where life takes us. So it is imperative that all of the lay faithful remember that their entire day is a mission field.
The harvest is abundant and the laborers are few, so ask the Master of the Harvest to wake up the lay faithful who have forgotten that they are called to be Saints.
Paul J. Kim is one of the most sought after Catholic speakers in America, having presented in 46 states and 7 countries over the past decade. He utilizes inspirational speaking, music, and comedy to share the good news of Christ throughout the world. He resides in California with his beautiful wife and three children. Follow him on Instagram!