Call to Labour in the Lord's Vineyard, "Go and make disciples of all nations".
The harvest is rich but the labourers are few. We are called to go to work in the Lord's vineyard like the Apostles did. Jesus chose only twelve apostles and, through their labours and selfless sacrifice, Christianity spread throughout the world. They wouldn’t have achieved what they had achieved if they were lukewarm like most of us are today. We can’t continue to sit on the fence. It is time to show who we are by our actions, not by words. It is time we begin to learn how to be active Christians. The world needs active Christians. Christ needs serious Christians to continue the salvific work He initiated; Christianity by actions not by words.
I think the world already has enough preachers and teachers of the Word. The world now needs doers and active imitators of Christ and the Apostles. Many people are in serious needs. So many families are suffering all sorts of deprivations. Many cannot afford their basic needs. Some families, including little children, go to bed hungry. We live in the world where love your neighbour as yourself manifests more in words than in deeds. We are so self-centered that we hardly think of the brother next door. We throw food in bins when a brother goes to bed hungry. Sometimes, we Christians depict the fig tree that bears lots of leaves but no fruits; the type of fig three that Jesus cursed because He found no fruit on it.
We hear the gospel frequently; that is wonderful. We participate at the Liturgy of the Word and that of the Eucharist; the major sources of Grace. What do we do with the gifts we possess and the Graces we receive? Do we bury them in the soil like the unfaithful servant who buried the talent given to him? Or, do we put them to use like the faithful servants who used their talents judiciously and rendered good accounts to their master on his return?
How long shall we brandish our faith with no good work? I have repeatedly asked myself the million-dollar question; what good deeds have I to show for my big faith? If I should close my eyes to death today, would Jesus say to me; “Come, you blessed of my father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me into your house; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to see me?” Most times, we think we must be rich before we can give the right answers to these questions. The Saints did massive works of mercy having nothing but trust and full dependency on the Divine Providence. St. Vincent de Paul and Mother Theresa of Calcutta are but just a few of the examples.
Reading the biography of St. John Bosco, the Patron Saint of the youth, I came across a passage that read; “In the 1840s the slums of Turin were overrun by the poverty that resulted inevitably from sweatshop factories with their hazardous machinery, child labor, and starvation wages. Walking through these slums, Don Bosco, St. John Bosco, came face to face with his mission. As he visited the prisons with Father Cafasso, the conviction of his vocation seemed to shout within him: "These boys are not bad. Take care of them before they fall into crime--that is your task!"
With his heart full of love and trust in his Lady, Our Lady Help of Christians, his pockets empty, Don Bosco courageously took up the work. From then on it was only "Give me souls--the souls of youngsters. “When Don Bosco planned to build a basilica in Mary's honor in Turin, he drew up the plans and called an architect to start the excavations. "Here is your first payment," he said, handing the astonished man eight cents and said, "Mary will build her own basilica." This was characteristic of Don Bosco: living in personal poverty while spending millions of monies building the kingdom of God. "When you become a priest," his mother had told him, "if ever you become rich, I shall never enter your house!" Describing his life, he would say, "I am poor, penniless Don Bosco, a shepherd boy of the hills. I have lived poor and shall die poor." Yet, this impoverished priest, who lived on the coarsest of foods and wore the poorest garments (often borrowed), spent millions for his boys, opened large schools, built one basilica to Mary in Turin and another to the Sacred Heart in Rome, and financed great missionary expeditions. The faith that God would provide worked miracles in his life.
What a costly mistake we make if we think that it is only the rich that can do the works of mercy. I have prayed and hoped for the time I would become rich so I would have enough money to help the poor. Now, I am getting old and still as poor as a pauper. Years begin and end, decades come and go and we still stick tenaciously to our palatable excuse; ‘I haven’t got the time and resources to engage in some corporal works of mercy’. Our little faith traps us to the belief that we can only feed the hungry when we have a house full of food and cannot shelter the homeless unless we have a mansion with hundreds of rooms, and we continue to wait, hope and procrastinate, forgetting we are not certain that we will live to see the next day.
When I meditate deeply on Jesus’ saying that all we need is faith as little as the mustard seed to tell the mountain to go into the sea, the scales fell off my eyes and I realized how much good I could have done by just taking a bold step of faith; such a step of faith that Peter took when he walked on the water and when, at the Beautiful Gate, he healed the man that was crippled from birth. The selfless Messiah said that we would do more than he had done if we believe.
When I looked at my hands and saw what little resources I have and seeing the uncountable number of less privileged people and families ravaged by poverty, I have no other option than to look up to heaven, present my little resources and my intentions to God, believing in the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in the powerful intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate Mediatrix of all Graces, and step out to work with what I have. God does not need much from us; all He needs is our submissive heart. If we stand up and say to the Lord from the sincerity of our heart; ‘Lord, I want to work in your vineyard, here I am, I offer my self to you, use me as an instrument of salvation’, He will take care of the rest. He will provide all that is needed to do the work. It is He that called us to work in His vineyard.
The Rosary Heroes sprang from the realization that God can use us to do great things in the lives of others despite our nothingness. I was motivated by the strong desire to do something that would reduce the sufferings of the poor and needy around us. I was moved by the quest to direct young people to God. I am pushed by the desire and hope that multitude of souls could be saved through my actions by the help of the most Holy Trinity and prayers of Our Lady of Good Hope.
I strongly believe that as David conquered heavily armed Goliath with his simple sling and a pebble, we can conquer huge social challenges with our Rosary and our sacrifice. With the Maternal help of the Mother of God, we can restore the dignity of man. Please, lend me your support so that together we would attend to the poor and the vulnerable in our midst and, through our actions, we would bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Reign of Jesus.
Kingsley I. Eze
Founder, Rosary Heroes