Bible passage: Isaiah 24:4-5 4 The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. 5 The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. LAUDATO SI— 211 … A person who could afford to spend and consume more but regularly uses less….such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings. Reusing something instead of immediately discarding it, when done for the right reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.
Dear friends, in the face of the challenges facing our world today arising from our efforts to subdue the earth rather than live in it as its caretakers, we must not lose hope. Indeed, we must live and act on the premise that all hope is not lost. Pope Francis clearly addressed that in Laudato SI when he said, “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom.” (LS. 205) Our question then should be, what must I do? What part do we need to play as individuals and groups inhabiting the earth?
In order to receive an answer to that question, we need to ask a few other questions:
• How do we inhabit our common home sustainably as individuals, as a church, as community and as a country?
• How do we nurture sustainable ecological, economic and socio-political systems to realize a just systemic balance of life for a healthy earth and the human race?
• How do we ensure social justice using Laudato Si as a social teaching of the church directed towards the common good? • Having enslaved the land by our human activities for so long, how do we go about her restoration?
• What new ways can we come up with for sustainable food production and consumption that will help to give the earth her required rest and restore her to a healthy state.
• How do we ensure restorative justice for the earth, restoring habitats and renewing bio-diversity?
• How can we ensure that a Green Economy gets factored into any post Covid-19 national recovery plan as a way of giving climate justice in order to restore the earth?
• How do we ensure sustainable economies, fair trade, just wages, equality and justice? • How do we effectively reduce our carbon footprint in a 3rd world country whose economy depends on fossil fuel?
• How do we ensure that no one is left behind? Dearly beloved, in continuation of our exercise, let us ask for the grace of an ecological conversion so as to be able to carry out a self-audit to determine where we have fallen short in caring for creation and our brothers and sisters.
This ecological examen should lead us to a commitment to new habits and new ways of doing things so that we can bring an end to pollution in whatever shape or form. Dear friends, I urge you to keep a diary of actions taken so far and their results. And may the Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. A prayer for our earth: All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe