I’ve always heard this saying…”at the eleventh hour”, but I’ve never given it much thought. I always just assumed it means that something is happening at the last minute…just before the time is up. But today’s Gospel reading got me thinking that this phrase had another origin, a more meaningful one. In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven with a householder who went out at different hours of the day to hire laborers for his field. After hiring workers at various times throughout the morning and into the afternoon….he goes out one last time…at the eleventh hour….to give those who had not yet been called, the opportunity to work!
But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing about and he said to them, “Why do you stand here all day idle?” They said to him, “Because no man has hired us.” He said to them, “Go you also into the vineyard.”Matt. 20
As I thought about this scenario of workers toiling all day in the hot sun, I thought about us, “toiling” in the “vineyard” located at 933 Liberty Avenue. (Although, I must say that some hot sun would be very welcome right about now!)
Many of us have joined the laborers who were there before us, at various times throughout the years. Sally and Al Brunn, along with Bob Newman and others were working hard on the sidewalk long before I ever even knew that there was such a thing as a pro-life movement.
Throughout the many years that I have been working in this vineyard, God has called many more people to this work, and we are always over-joyed to see new recruits come to join us!
The analogy of the parable breaks down at the end, when those who worked all day began to grumble and complain that they were paid the same as those who joined at the end of the day. This is NOT how those of us who have been working in the pro-life field feel…I can assure you of that! We are storing up our treasure in Heaven…we are all receiving the same salvation in Christ, and God is being very generous by calling new people to such blessed work! In fact, I wonder if we really ARE at “the eleventh hour”, as far as pro-life work goes? Maybe with our new administration, which we know is completely hostile to Christian values and the protection of pre-born human life…laws may soon be passed which will bring this type of activism to an end. I don’t know. We just keep going, until we can’t.
Even at this late hour, God (the householder), is STILL going out into the streets, looking for workers for His field! And if you answer His call…believe me…you will be greatly blessed by His generosity! You will receive graces upon graces…I speak from experience! So, if you think you are hearing His call…be courageous and COME!
Many workers braved the frigid temperatures and came to the sidewalk to pray and witness this past Friday and Saturday, in lieu of going to the March for Life in DC. I will share some pictures below, but first I want to thank those who responded to my email last week and volunteered to do a regular shift during the Lenten campaign! We are getting closer to being filled! The shifts that still have a shift manager alone (needing a buddy) are: The first two Mondays (Feb. 22 & Mar. 1) from 11 am – 1 pm (Dean needs a partner) ; All Mondays 3 – 5 pm (Marie H. alone) ; All Wednesdays 5-7 pm (with Joe K.) ; All Thursdays 5 – 7 pm (with Charlie) ; All Sundays 5-7 pm (with Andy), and two Fridays from 5-7 pm (2/26 & 3/19) with Bill E. If you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As far as the schedule is looking, we could use many more people, in addition to just the shift manager and buddy! Take a look at the schedule HERE and then email Fran Morrow to sign up your group, or Donna Goss to sign up as an individual.
Now, for the pictures of this past weekend’s workers:
We marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with an impressive turnout on a frigid Pittsburgh morning. I counted 35 people at one point, but several people came earlier and later, so there were over 45 people in all, but I’m kicking myself for not remembering to take more pictures. Several rosaries and littanies were prayed, and we were able to have a couple conversations with people coming out. At one point the guard came out and made a remark about a little boy who had been walking back and forth through the circle potentially getting hit by the door, and Walt observed the irony of someone who works at a business that kills children acting concerned about the safety of a child. It was good to see so many people willing to stand out in the freezing cold to stand up for those with no voice of their own!Steve
On Saturday, student groups from all over came to pray and witness! One young leader named Lauren, from Penn State Main wrote:
This past Saturday, a group of Penn State, Pitt, and Franciscan students joined 40 Days for Life, Sidewalk Advocates, local homeschooled high schoolers, and others, to protest and pray outside of Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood. That morning we talked with women about life-affirming resources available to them, handed out contact information of local pregnancy resource clinics, and prayed for those entering the building and those already inside. The relationships formed that morning exemplify the universality of the pro-life mission. Groups from all backgrounds and walks of life showed up in below freezing weather that day to support the one issue that unites us all — the right to life. Contact information was exchanged, ideas for further outreach and demonstrations were discussed, and the excitement to furthering our mission was contagious. Groups from all backgrounds and walks of life showed up in below freezing weather that day to support the one issue that unites us all — the right to life. Contact information was exchanged, ideas for further outreach and demonstrations were discussed, and the excitement to furthering our mission was contagious. I witnessed a fellow Penn State student, a first-time advocate, brought to tears that morning when a woman accepted her pamphlet for a local pregnancy resource clinic for her friend who was pregnant and looking for support. Encounters such as this reinforce what we know to be true — that waking up early, making the drive into the city, scouring the streets for parking, and standing in the cold outside of PP matters and bears fruit. It bears fruit not just for those entering the clinic but for those who bear witness outside of that facility to the hurt, pain, and perversion of the truth so many women are fed. Saturday’s crowd of pro-lifers was beyond inspiring and impactful for all those present that day and the continuation and strengthening of such turn out will only bear more fruit.Lauren, Students for Life President, Penn State University Main Campus
We had student groups from Pitt, Penn State, Franciscan University of Steubenville, St, Thomas Aquinas High School, as well as Pro-Lifers from 40 Days 365, and Sidewalk Advocates. As you can see, the Pro Life movement was there in force today, especially well represented by our young Christians!Greg