..."The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few!" (Mt 9: 37; Lk 10: 2). How can we fail to feel the timeliness and urgency of these words! The horizon of the Lord's "harvest" is indeed limitless, if we consider not only the pastoral needs of the Church herself but also the immense number of people who still await the first proclamation of the Gospel. Amid all the complexity of the present time... we need to recognize the search for meaning—a real yet often silent search—which is spreading through society. There is an unexpressed sense of need for Christ rising up from young people, from the world of culture, and from the great ethical and social challenges of our time. In order to respond to this need, the whole Church must become completely ministerial, a community of heralds and witnesses, rich in labourers for the harvest.
It is really God himself, the "Lord of the harvest", who chooses his labourers; his call is always undeserved and unexpected. And yet, in the mystery of God's covenant with us, we are called to cooperate with his providence, and to use the powerful tool which he has placed in our hands: prayer! This is what Jesus himself asked us to do: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest!" (Mt 9: 38)....
...Prayer moves the heart of God. It is the powerful key to resolving the vocations question. But at the same time prayer for vocations is also a school of life..."By praying for vocations we learn to look with Gospel wisdom at the world and at each person's need for life and salvation; it is a way of sharing in Christ's love and compassion for all mankind ..."(Message for the 38th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 14 September 2000, n. 6).
...Within the People of God, there is a specific mission awaiting each one. Because the needs of the "harvest" are so great, all the members of God's People must grow in the awareness of "being called". Significant are the gifts and tasks associated with the involvement of Christians in the temporal order. These are above all the responsibility of the laity. But a relevance all their own belongs to the ministries directed to the guidance and growth in holiness of the ecclesial community, namely the priesthood and the consecrated life.