July 5, 2011 - Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

The translators of the Gospel have cleaned it up a bit for us. It says in English “his heart was moved with pity”, whereas the original Greek is more literally translated “he felt pity for them in his intestines”. “Gut-wrenching” would be a great translation. I mention this because it is such a great image. Jesus looks out on the crowds and he does not look out on them with an intellectual judgment. He does not feel sorry for the crowds. He physically feels pity for them, in the pit of his stomach.

Then Jesus tells his disciples what he wants: “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” This is a very strange solution! Who is responsible for the harvest? The master of the harvest. Why do we need to ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers? He wants to send out laborers so badly that he feels sick. He should send out laborers himself without any prodding on our part. Why do we need to pray for vocations? God should just send out all the harvesters that the world needs.

Prayer has many functions, but the greatest function of prayer is conforming our will to the Will of God. It is good to pray for what we want, for a new car or cure from a disease, but this is a lower type of prayer. What we want may happen or it may not; we do not know God’s plan for us. The higher type of prayer is praying for what God wants. We know it will happen, since God’s will is perfectly accomplished, but, by joining in his desire, our will is changed into his will.

Praying for vocations is kind of like cheering for God’s team. When we root for the Twins, we very quickly begin to say “We won” and “We lost” and “We just need a new closer”. When we root for God, the same thing happens. Soon it is not “God and me” but “us”. We need a renewal of our minds. We are not fighting God, and we are not bystanders watching him fight the world. We, all of us together, are part of his team, and that begins with us asking him for what he already wants, until we want it too, until we all, the Church and God, have one will, one desire.