This time of year is the time for harvest thanksgiving. It was the autumn equinox last Thursday 22nd September and we had a Harvest Moon on 16th September. This is the month we are asked by the Church to pray in thanksgiving for the harvest, the fruits of human work and pray for the reverent use of creation. Harvest comes from the Anglo-Saxon word hærfest, “Autumn”. It then came to refer to the season for reaping and gathering grain and other grown products. Harvest was a big thing in my last parish with the children and parishioners bringing non perishable food for the Manna Centre at London Bridge that gave food and care to the vulnerable and those sleeping rough. Those doing the flowers made an impressive and beautiful decoration for the Sanctuary expessing the theme of Harvest. Here at St Thomas of Canterbury, since I have come here, we don’t seem mark harvest time with the same enthusiasm which seems a shame as we are right in the garden of England! On Friday, 8th October, the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is encouraging us to have a Harvest fast day. When we hear the stirring words of Amos castigating the well-off for neglecting those in need in the first reading today, and as we hear the challenging story told by Jesus of the the rich man who was totally indifferent to the poor man at the the gates of his sumptuous house we need to ask ourselves these questions. What are we doing for those under our noses who are in great need? Have do we give thanks for all that God gives us? Are we willing to share what we have with those in need? Should we, as a parish, be giving a tenth of our income to those most in need, sometimes know as tithing? Is the social teaching of the Church a priority for us? A prayer at Harvest time:
The earth is fruitful may we be generous.
The earth is fragile may we be gentle.
The earth is fractured may we be just.
Creating God, harvest in us joy and generosity as we together share in thanks and giving