The end of July at the monastery means that our harvest season looms on the horizon. The first of our wine grapes are cut in early August and continues through September and includes crushing, pressing and fermentation. The prunes follow in the second half of August into September. Finally, the walnuts are harvested in late September and October.
All summer long though we harvest fresh fruit grown in the monastery “home-orchard” for consumption by the monks and our guests. We do a number of things with our home-grown fruit. The fruit which is not consumed fresh is made into jams and jellies, juiced, dried, or frozen. It keeps the kitchen staff busy since we grow and use much of our own fruit.
This theme of harvest is a theme closely associated with the Gospel. Jesus tells his followers, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” He goes on to exhort them, “So ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)
This teaching of Jesus, given to the 72 disciples he was about to send out as his personal envoys to help him to announce the goods news of God’s Kingdom, is traditionally interpreted by the church as the command to pray for vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life. This special ministerial need is important but the command is far more inclusive. Each baptized member as follower of Christ is a harvester and responsible to pray for more harvesters to proclaim the gospel in multiple ways according to the call of each.
So harvest season is an excellent reminder that all Christians are tasked to pray to the Master of the Harvest to send out many workers to reap the harvest of God’s Kingdom.