Question about Matt. 9:37, "The labourers are few"


Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers to his harvest.

Today does this mean that the Church needs more Priests or is it referring to us the laitythat we need to evangelize more?


I’d say both/and


I’d say yes :slightly_smiling_face:
But I have heard Jesus also say -
The harvesters - were the angels - at the end of the world.


The laity do have an important role in the Church.


Safe to assume both.


It’s referring to the Apostles.

The way it’s written the Apostles are knowingly, or even unknowingly, praying for themselves.


From the Haydock re Verse 36:

Ver. 36. He had compassion on them. The bowels of his compassion yearned to see multitudes cast down and oppressed, like sheep that are without a shepherd. The Pharisees indeed were their shepherds; but they acted the part of ravenous wolves, not only neglecting to lead the people to virtue, but even hindering, as much as they could, their advancement in good; for when the admiring multitude cried out, “Never did the like appear in Israel,” they immediately decried it, saying, “By the prince of devils he casteth out devils.” (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxxiii.)

This would suggest that in 37 and 38 he is indeed referring to priests. However, I think it is valid to extend this section to the laity as well, because we also have a role to play in building up the kingdom.


we are all Priests by right of Baptism. We all make up the Body of Christ. We must all labour to improve and maintain the health of the Body of Christ and sanctify the world.


I agree that it’s both/and.

The CC commentary in my Didache Bible says, “We should pray fervently for priestly and religious vocations as well as for all people to center their lives on Christ.”

We are all called to be missionaries and evangelists, either out in the world or right in our own homes and neighborhoods. So I think praying for vocations and for a renewal of the Holy Spirit among all Christians is appropriate.


Yes, a different parable (Matthew 13:24) talks about the good and the wicked growing up together in the world, just like wheat and chaff in a field. And then at the end of the growing season, the harvesters/reapers, or angels, come and gather the wheat (good) into the barn and burn the chaff (bad).

But that’s a different context than what CajunJoy was asking about here.

Matthew 9:37 refers to us going out as laborers and gathering a richer harvest of souls by bringing more people to Christ. Laborers doesn’t refer to angels here because there is certainly no lack of angels in Heaven.


Primarily I take it to mean asking for priests and religious vocations. However, as laypeople, we should do what we can to evangelize, of course.


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