St Stephen page.pdf
From the Pastor's Desk
Harvest<------->abundant
Laborers<------->few
 
As you well know, the Archdiocese is studying, planning and preparing for some rather dramatic changes. Part of the motivation for the coming changes is the shrinking number of folks worshiping with the Church on a faithful basis, but the primary reason change is needed is the lack of priests. We need fewer parishes because we do not have enough priests to serve the number of parishes we have. (This is especially striking when you realize that our archdiocese is in better shape than the vast majority of dioceses in the country.) “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few,” we hear Jesus lament in the Gospel. And Jesus charges us to “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” We must pray for an increase in the number of those responding to the call to ministry, especially as ordained servants in the Church.
 
“Lord, Master of the harvest, please increase in the Church the number of those ordained to celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist.”
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This week we celebrate the anniversary of our country’s founding. We appreciate and are thankful for what we have been given while we labor to build an even more perfect union.
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God’s grace is no less active in our world today than it was in the time of Isaiah or even Jesus, but perhaps many of us are less responsive to that grace than we could be. “Yet know this,” Jesus proclaims, “the kingdom of God is at hand.” We need to follow the example of the Apostles and St. Paul, who said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...” Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples and sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom, and they “returned rejoicing,” having witnessed the power of Christ in their ministry.
 
The Sunday before last we heard the account of the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus wanted to feed the crowds. He transformed a very limited amount of food into a meal that satisfied thousands. Jesus has no less desire to nourish us today. As God provided abundant milk and prosperity to Jerusalem in Isaiah and Jesus fed the hungry crowds with food, so too God’s grace continues to overflow into our world today. But notice, Jesus chose to do such things through the ministry of others, like the apostles and the seventy-two mentioned in the Gospel. Just as surely, Jesus wants us to nourish others with our witness of faith and our feeding of the poor. Remember, when the apostles wanted Jesus to send the crowds away so they could go somewhere and find food for themselves, he told them, “Give them some food yourselves.” 
 
Jesus not only fed the crowds with bread and fish, he nourished them with his word. And he satisfies us with the Bread of Life. Jesus Christ not only nourishes us with Word and Sacrament, but he redeems us of our weaknesses and sins, abundantly offering forgiveness to all the world. Our harvest of grace is indeed plentiful and we must share it.
 
In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus specifically told his disciples not to retaliate. He rebuked James and John when they wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritan village that refused to welcome Jesus. And again today Jesus tells his disciples to simply move on if they are rejected. Jesus instructs them to offer peace wherever they go. Unlike money which Jesus told them not to take along which they therefore could not give away, they were to bring peace and share it freely, giving it away over and over.
 
Jesus not only fed the crowds with bread and fish, he nourished them with his word. And he satisfies us with the Bread of Life. Jesus Christ not only nourishes us with Word and Sacrament, but he redeems us of our weaknesses and sins, abundantly offering forgiveness to all the world. Our harvest of grace is indeed plentiful and we must share it.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus specifically told his disciples not to retaliate. He rebuked James and John when they wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritan village that refused to welcome Jesus. And again today Jesus tells his disciples to simply move on if they are rejected. Jesus instructs them to offer peace wherever they go. Unlike money which Jesus told them not to take along which they therefore could not give away, they were to bring peace and share it freely, giving it away over and over.
 
Jesus sent out 72 disciples, a number thought to be the total number of nations on earth at the time, to bring peace, cure the sick, and proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. After his resurrection, Jesus charged his followers to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth, making disciples of every nation. We are equally called today to be the disciples of the mission, to reap the harvest, bring peace, healing, nourishment and forgiveness to the world. 
Fr. Bob 
 
 
    
 
 
 
“Dear Padre” page courtesy of:
Mahn Funeral Home
Peaceful Ridge Cemetery
Mausoleum - Monuments - Cremation
900 Main & Mahn Ave - De Soto, MO 63020 - 636-586-2288/515 Collins Ave.-Festus, MO 63028 - 636-937-4444 
www.mahnfuneralhome.com