This morning I’m in Albany, NY at the province center of our religious community for our annual “homecoming” event, a gathering of as many Sisters as are able to come together to reconnect and to listen to speakers on issues of importance for us – in the world and in our Church. As the world gets “smaller” and we become more socially conscious as a Church, the concerns seem closer in essence than in the “olden days” when most of us were younger and more removed from what was going on in the wider world. It is significant to me that as we listen today to Janet Mock, the immediate past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Howard Hubbard, the Bishop Emeritus of Albany, speaking about being Church in a new way, Pope Francis is listening in Rome to a worldwide gathering of bishops and lay people at a synod centered on Church policy around issues of family in the world today.
Just before I came here I had a conversation with a 50-something woman about “church.” She said she is not much of a church-goer these days but learned much from her mother (whose funeral is later this morning) who was active in settling refugees after the Vietnam war. Recently, her own daughter who is now a teacher came to her to discuss the need to help Burmese refugees who are coming to our area. “So,” she said, “I guess I’m doing a bit in the spiritual realm at least.” This is a common theme these days which many of us tend to smile and yet shrug our shoulders at (“spiritual but not religious”)…but as I read the gospel of Luke this morning (LK 10:1-9) – thinking of all of the above – I am called to consider in a new way the service of those who are not working directly in a church but are serving God nevertheless. Luke charges us to do our part when he says that the harvest is abundant but laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out more laborers for the harvest.
Whether our contribution is in social action, church service or prayer for the world, we are called to recognize the contributions of all who choose to participate in the rich harvest that is before us now and holds the seeds of our common future.