In today’s first Mass reading, Paul reminds the people of Corinth that we are God’s co-workers and that, while we may plant and water, it is God who causes the growth.
When I read the passage, I was reminded of the prayer sometimes attributed to Oscar Romero, but which was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw in honor of Romero. It came to mind easily, as we used it recently as the opening prayer for a professional staff day in our offices.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
God is the master builder, we are workers. We do our individual pieces, knowing that the whole is in God’s hands.