The church has survived and thrived through worse problems than whatever is worrying us today. The Church belongs to Jesus and not to us and He knows what he’s supposed to do.
Christ has an incredible history of pulling together all His people in every generation to share His love.
The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few.
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness’. When he saw the crowd, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus was conducting a priestly ministry as a shepherd, taking care of all the spiritual needs of the people, preaching the gospel, casting out devils and healing them. Jesus is filled with compassion and recognizes that the people are being harassed by evil spirits and are helpless because of their sicknesses – ‘Like sheep without a shepherd.’
Just imagine that all of us need healing, deliverance, consolation, compassion and preaching, but there is no one to preach to us and there is no priest available.
Fr Joseph said he had a conversation with a friend, while they were on a journey and one of the questions the friend asked among many of the things they discussed was, “With the situation in Europe, many churches are empty and in many areas priests are lacking. Because of that, many parishes are closing down. The current priests are all elderly priests and these priests themselves have to celebrate numerous masses and a single parish priest is in charge of many parishes and it’s a very difficult situation. After 10 years or so, that is, after their death, I don’t think we will have many priests available and youngsters are also not interested in joining the priesthood. What will happen to the Church all over the world and its future after some years? What is the future of the church with the influx of new religions, new age movements, atheism and the flourishing of other religions”? Fr. Joseph said the Lord suddenly inspired him with an answer and he said to his friend, “Suppose Jesus comes and tells you, “I’m going to let you live for a thousand years”. What will happen to your business?” My friend said, “Then I won’t be afraid of my business. I’m sure I can take care of my business for the thousand years that I will live.” Fr. Joseph told him, “This is what my feelings towards the Church are. Since Jesus started Christianity, it will not disappear.”
Jesus said in:
“And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of age.”
Jesus has not abandoned His ministry or Christianity; He’s guiding it, leading it, moving forward and walking in front of us. He has promised to be with each one of us. Hence, we don’t need to worry about Christianity. Since He started this ministry, He will conclude it. We should not give up hope.
Jesus anointed twelve people, then a hundred and twenty people and then three thousand and from there thousand and thousands of people have been anointed, so that there are enough and more shepherds in the world.
In Europe, some years ago, there were thousands of vocations. Churches and monasteries were full of priests, monks and religious people. God can do anything, anytime.
“Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”
Our God who is leading Christianity today, is able to raise priests, missionaries from the stones of the Cathedral.
A year or so ago, we didn’t even imagine that the word of God, the scriptures from the Bible, would be preached through different online platforms, which is now made available to every child of God. He has so magnificently done the evangelization ministry through social media, creating new opportunities to reach people.This is a testing period for all of us.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
The harvest belongs to the Heavenly Father; It is His duty to send the laborers. He commands his followers to pray earnestly that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers to gather it in.
So, why are there no laborers in the world today? Because we have stopped asking and now, we have only a few of them in the vineyard of the Lord.
We will see new missionaries; Members of the church will be anointed and will perform miracles and wonders in the name of Jesus. They will cast out evil spirits and preach the good news with boldness, while standing for Christ and being martyrs for Christ. He’s waiting for us, to see if we will ask him. If we are ready to ask, he will send laborers.
God has already started sending laborers. In many countries, there are more and more people inspired to join the priesthood and religious life.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of age.”
All of us who are frightened, disappointed, confused, worried about the future of the church should listen and remember what God has spoken to us. It’s His family, His mystical body, and He will take care of it.
Just because the number of vocations is reducing, does not mean we should compromise with the teachings of the church. The Lord has given us all the laws from the Bible and we have to follow them all. No church or canon law is supposed to go against the teachings of Jesus. If He has forbidden certain laws, then who are we to go against those laws.
We have to understand that the church is not worried about losing numbers. The church is only worried about compromising the word of God. If we compromise the word of God, the church will disappear from the world. We should not compromise when it comes to the word of God. However, if we stand strong in the teachings of Christ, even if people leave the church, one day God can bring people back to the church. King Saul was rejected because he was worried that people were leaving him, so he compromised on the commandment of God.
1 Samuel 13:10-13
“As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived; and Saul went out to meet him and salute him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “When I saw that the people were slipping away from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines were mustering at Michmash.” I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down upon me at Gilgal, and I have not entreated the favor of the Lord’; So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.’ Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you. The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
Even before two thousand years ago, people always had the tendency to leave the church.
Some bishops and priests in European countries started compromising on the teachings of the Bible and were celebrating certain forbidden holy masses as per the word of God and the canon law. Their justification was that if they didn’t do this, the church would be lost after some time.
We only have to worry about the sheep entrusted to our care and give them maximum care with the teachings of Jesus. As Christians, we should worry only about our families and ensure that they are given the right teachings from the Bible. Also, we should ensure that our children are brought up in the faith and Catechism is given to them. If we take care of our families, the church will be taken care of. When we forget to take care of our own families and worry about the future of the church, then calamities and other problems start occurring in the church.
It would be a foolish act if we compromise on the teachings because people are leaving the church. Even if there is only one person, we should hold on to the Bible. God will protect the church. We give more importance to the number of visitors and parishioners in a parish, than to the commandments of God and this is called idol worship.
It’s painful when we look around us and see our own church leaders and members of the church doing such things. It’s unacceptable and not tolerated.
Ask the Lord to send true shepherds and not false shepherds. Let every priest start asking its people to pray for more and more vocations, because it’s His vineyard and His harvest.