A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘harvest

One of my bad habits? Trying to carry out tasks all on my own.

It’s not that I like tackling big jobs by myself; it’s more that I don’t like to bother people by asking them for help.

Take the church cleanup that I mentioned in some earlier posts. I should have asked someone to help me organize it. More to the point—I should have prayed more for guidance and people power to get the job done.

How often do we try to tackle parish activities in our own strength, with the resources we have? Do we simply try to organize community-building activities or launch ministries for children, youth or seniors and lament our limited resources, or do we dream bigger—or rather, pray bigger prayers?

In 2 Corinthians 9:10*, the apostle Paul writes, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” Paul is talking about generous giving, but why couldn’t this apply to our ministry activities as well?

Couldn’t we pray for more volunteers to step forward to ensure youth group events run well? For guidance in running sacramental preparation activities so that more families are drawn to the church? For more volunteers to enable more parishioners to benefit from pastoral care ministries? Couldn’t we ask God to stretch or even multiply our resources to increase our “harvest”?

One testament to God’s power to multiply our resources is the growth of the Be the Change event in support of Ratanak International, which rescues Cambodian children from the sex trade and gives them a new start in life. Each year, new sponsors, performers, and prize donors have come forward to support this Ottawa event so that more funds can be raised to help Ratanak achieve its goals—a greater “harvest,” or more children helped.

When the summer ends and parish activities restart, I pray that we would ask God to guide our plans and make our human and financial resources go further and even grow so that we might share the good news with more of his people.

[Jesus] took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied; and they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

~ Matthew 15:35-39

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

In the 1980s, my family moved across the country to a house in the country where the garden overflowed with pumpkins and squash, and we had to find ways to make use of the unexpected bounty. (We were drowning in zucchini, for one thing.) Maybe that’s why I enjoy the fresh apples, squash and root vegetables in the fall.

fresh apple

My son about to enjoy a freshly picked apple back in fall 2011

While cooking for picky eaters is challenging year-round, fall produce invites me to make slow-cooked comfort foods and apple pies, especially since we now have a mini pie baker—a big help to people like me who aren’t the best at turning out pretty pastry.

The best part of all this is the time we spend eating meals together. A contrast with summertime, when no one wants to cook and meals tend to be eaten in the cool basement family room, where the TV awaits.

In the fall, we can sit in the dinette, enjoy our food and talk about the challenges and high points of the day. (In all honesty, I do most of the talking while everyone else eats.)

It seems that something similar happens to parishes in the summer.

When it’s hot, the service tends to be shorter. Attendance falls in the summer, with parishioners on holiday or at cottages. And if the church relies on fans for cooling, parishioners hurry out as soon as the service ends rather than socialize.

Then September arrives. We come together in greater numbers as a community to spend time worshipping and praising God and sharing a meal, the Eucharist. So we should, since we’re meant to live out our faith together, just as the book of Acts tells us the early church did. More opportunities arise to use our gifts to serve others within our faith community and beyond.

We’re blessed to spend time once again with our family and our “church family” and to have the chance to support, encourage and build up one another and use that “fresh start” feeling of September to bear good fruit for God.

On a sad note, I pray that God would heal those who were injured and grant his rest to those who were killed in yesterday’s bus/train collision in Ottawa and that he would comfort the families, friends and colleagues of the victims and survivors.

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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