Stop & Pray

First Reading: Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13

Thus says the LORD:
They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my approval.
With their silver and gold they made
idols for themselves, to their own destruction.
Cast away your calf, O Samaria!
my wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be unable to attain
innocence in Israel?
The work of an artisan,
no god at all,
Destined for the flames—
such is the calf of Samaria!

When they sow the wind,
they shall reap the whirlwind;
The stalk of grain that forms no ear
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.

When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
his altars became occasions of sin.
Though I write for him my many ordinances,
they are considered as a stranger’s.
Though they offer sacrifice,
immolate flesh and eat it,
the LORD is not pleased with them.
He shall still remember their guilt
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 115:3-4, 5-6, 7AB-8, 9-10

R. (9a) The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.
They have hands but feel not;
they have feet but walk not.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone that trusts in them.
R. The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 9:32-38

A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said,
“He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”



My instant reaction to the last sentence of this Gospel passage is to get out there and DO more.

But, stop.

Read the second part: “[S]o ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Sometimes we get so eager to jump all in with what we can contribute action-wise that we forget prayer comes first.

It is true that the harvest is abundant and laborers are few—but is that particular labor the one you are called to? Is that particular harvest one that is ripe for the picking?

I recently watched the new film about Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta called The Letters. If there is one thing that is clear about her life, it is that she always took time for prayer. She always began (and ended) with prayer.

Blessed Mother Teresa started her life as a sister in the cloister, but felt God was calling her outside, to help care for the poorest of the poor. But even when she began working in the slums of Calcutta, she never lost that interior life, that deep relationship with Our Lord that she had developed as a cloistered nun. In the Rule of Life that she developed for her Sisters, ample time is carved out of every day for conversation with God. She knew how essential it was to their work.

She also recognized that she was not truly the one in charge—all was in God’s Hands. How could she best discern His direction if she did not make repeated contact with Him as she went about her work throughout the day? This was vital to her ministry, to her life.

It was her most important work.

Similarly, sisters, we must remember to turn to Him—always. When faced with big decisions, when faced with small inconveniences, when trying to go about the mundane tasks of everyday life. Before beginning exams, before entering into a conversation, before embarking on a journey, before we begin a new day. In all circumstances. In all things.

These are the things of life where we will reap His harvest. Let us pray before we act. We must not forget the efficacy of prayer.

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Blessed Mother Teresa said, “Everything starts from prayer.” Try to take a moment for prayer—even just three seconds!—before embarking on the tasks placed before you today.

photo credit

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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