This 4th week of the Season of Creation brings us to action in this jubilee year! We know that God’s ongoing creativity and touch are found in everything, so now what?
The picture to the left is rather stark! In the book of Deuteronomy Ch. 30:19-20 the writer says, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction…. Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to God’s voice, and hold fast to God.”
Perhaps our experience during the past several weeks and months of pandemic has already led us to many choices for the sake of life, both our own and that of our families. Or, by default the choices we made came about because we felt we had no other choice! Think about the working from home or not work at all, the different food, the travel and recreational choices that you have made or not made during the days of lockdown. Maybe some were in the ceeategory of “nuisances.” But did any good come from having more time at home with your family? Or from eating less, cooking more, doing without new clothes, downsizing and cleaning out attics and closets in at-home time?
In “Laudato Si”, Pope Francis talks about “simplifying our lifestyle so that world poverty will decrease.” Mahatma Gandi famously said, “Live simply so that others may simply life.” We have all most likely seen the TV ad to call 1-800-GOT JUNK where all you have to do is point and “ZAP” the whole pile disappears and the lady prances and dances in delight!!! A question we might ask is: “Do I really need everything stored in drawers and cupboards, or looking around, do I really have enough of everything? Will I eventually ever return to my pre-pandemic, normal lifestyle or is there an invitation to be less consumeristic and materialistic? Can I do anything to help heal the imbalance plaguing our world?
Pope Francis has invited us to ecological conversion! So let’s put it all on the balancing scale! “Laudato Si” emphasizes that the fragility of the planet is in direct relationship to the poverty level of so many fragile poor people. A missionary friend of mine always says that the poor have so few choices. Consider the array of choices in any supermarket aisle or multitude of stores at a Mall.
How many people are squeezed on the scale opposite me when it comes to needs. To fulfill all my needs or wants, might satisfy five people on the scale and maybe more!!! Imagine! We are being awakened now to the urgent need to heal this imbalance. We are invited to enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth that requires living in radically new ways devoid of racism, poverty and consumerism.
Last September at our outdoor Mass and picnic we emphaiszed the need to recycle, reuse and refuse “things” so as to help eliminate the enormous mountains of trash, especially plastics, on our earth and in our oceans. Ironically now with Covid we have amassed mountains of very necessary used masks, gloves, and sanitizer bottles! So where are we in our choices for life? There is no easy answer but let us return to the theme of a Jubilee Year.
How do we Choose Life, Hope and Action? “This is the season for letting our prayer be inspired anew by closeness to nature . . . and to reflect on our life styles . . . for undertaking prophetic actions . . . and directing the planet and everyone and thing towards life, not death.” Possibly the nuisances we continue to put up with are actually helping the earth in its distress. While the Old Testament writers encouraged a jubilee year and time to let the earth remain fallow, Jesus pointed us to the birds of the air who are cared for and fed by his Heavenly Father. He also asks us not to worry about life, what we will eat or drink or wear because on a “daily” basis” we are taken care of as the “Our Father” reminds us and Fr. Dan did too in a recent homily. (Give us this day our daily bread!) I have been thinking that perhaps my level of trust has never really been tested. Maybe I need to listen again to St. Augustine who said so long ago, “Pray as if everything depends on God; work as if everything depends on you.”
- Remember the needs of a poor person you know while praying the Our Father, “Give ______ this day his/her daily bread or wages or strength or health.”
- Trust in God’s desire to use your voice and make one phone call to promote social justice or environmental care to a responsible agency or group.
- Consider you daily life and make one decision to live more simply in some way.
Prayer for Creation and Examen
An Irish Blessing