The Ministry of Jesus Christ – Ripening Harvest

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Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” – John 4:31-38 (RSVCE)

During the absence of the Samaritan woman, our Lord tells His disciples that His meat is to do His Father’s will, and reminds them of the boundless fields that are whitening for the harvest, ready to be reaped by those who should preach the Gospel of God.

Our Lord tells His Apostles, when they press Him to take some food, that he has meat to eat which they know not of. He explains that His food is to carry out, in blind obedience, the task that His Father had laid upon Him. One thing alone He asked Himself: “What is it that My Father wishes me to do?” This is the secret of all sanctity.

Jesus directs the attention of His Apostles to the field of work ready for the harvest. It may be that he pointed to the Samaritans, coming in a crowd to hear Him. It may be that He spoke of the great harvest of both Jews and Gentiles. Now, as then, there are fields waiting the reaper. What do I do to help in the harvest? by alms, by my own personal efforts, by training others to work for God?

“One man sows and another reaps.” How often is this the case! Only in the Day of Judgment will each receive his due share in the work done. A priest receives converts, but he is only the reaper. The sower is some Religious praying in solitude, or some old woman telling her beads. One day sower and reaper will rejoice together. If I cannot reap, at least I can sow, and earn a share in the joy of bringing souls to God.

MLA Citation

  • Father Richard Frederick Clarke, SJ. “Ripening Harvest”. The Ministry of Jesus Christ: Short Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord, 1892. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 April 2019. Web. 1 August 2021. <>