Please scroll down to this week’s readings, reflection, prayer, and suggested actions. The St. Patrick Creation Care Team invites parishioners to reflect on God’s gifts of creation and to consider actions we might take to promote environmental stewardship as a Lenten spiritual practice.
MAR 6 2022
Readings: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10, Ps 91: 1-2, 10-15, Romans 10: 8-13, Luke 4: 1-13
Today’s first reading looks back on Moses’ final speech to the Israelites before they cross into the Promised Land. Moses recalls the saving acts of God throughout history. Just as the Israelites offered baskets of produce from the new land in a thanksgiving to God, what do we have to offer to help restore the natural environment that sustains us?
As we reflect on the narrative of Luke’s gospel, “One does not live on bread alone”, we are invited to remember our ultimate dependence on God as the source and foundation of our lives. We are asked to recognize our call as brothers and sisters to care for all people and created life. We ask ourselves, “how have we supported systems that harm and dominate vulnerable people and ecosystems?”
ACTIONS (A Lenten Fast can be any practice that allows us to walk lightly on earth.)
Commit to buying from local farmers or organic farms as your budget allows this Lent.
Read about benefits of organic and local farming from the Food and Agricultural Organization. (http://bit.ly/FAOrganic
Offer gratitude for the abundance of food we enjoy.
- That we learn to see and act with compassion for the migrants of the world, particularly those fleeing the effects of climate change, let us pray to the Lord.
- That we work to become conscious of the impacts that our lifestyles have on earth, our common home, we pray to the Lord.
(resources consulted for this reflection: Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Catholic Climate Covenant)
MAR 13 2022
Readings: Gn 15: 5-12, 17-18, Ps 27: 1, 7-9, 13-14, Philippians 3:17 – 4:1, Luke 9: 28-26
In Genesis, the people of God meet God in nature. God appears in the natural elements of the earth: in the sky, the flaming torch, the rising and setting of the sun, as a whisper in the calm wind, and as a mighty voice in the storm. Abram and his clan are nomadic people who stake their tent, settle for a time, herd their animals, and move on. God brings them forth from former lands and makes promises of abundance in the new lands. The covenant is sealed with God’s gift from the natural world: a heifer, a goat, a ram, a turtledove, a pigeon. The covenant is a two-way relationship. God gives land to Abram and his descendants (“from the Wadi Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates”). In return, God expects that the people be good stewards of it. Stewardship is an oft-repeated theme in Genesis.
In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul warns the faithful to not follow in the ways of those who “conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Jesus.” Filling their stomachs, conducting themselves in shameful ways, being “occupied with earthly things”—this is “their end, [their] destruction.” Earlier in this chapter (in verse 7), St. Paul attests to his own repentance, the rearranging of his way of thinking, feeling and being in order to forsake that which is wrong in order to follow the cross: “…whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”
The old and the new covenant come together in the story of the Transfiguration (Luke 9). In a setting of nature (the mountain top), Jesus is transfigured into an other-worldly being before the eyes of his disciples, revealing to them his divinity. The great prophets of old (Moses and Elijah) converse with Jesus about the new covenant yet to come. Bewildered by what they were seeing, God appears in the cloud and sets them straight: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
During this Lenten season, as we examine our consciences and ways of living, we can look to the scrutinies celebrated for our catechumens (those who are in prayerful study to join the church) throughout the liturgical year (including the Third Sunday of Lent). RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) explains that the scrutinies are rites of self-searching and repentance, “meant to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful…” How does this societal order (all “earthly things”) keep us from the love of God. How have the gains we’ve made in technologies, in wealth, in convenience come at the expense of desecrating God’s bounteous creation? How have we turned away from God ? For what must we repent?
As we move forward as the faithful during this most critical and challenging time for our planet, let us scrutinize this path of degradation—perhaps destruction—that we are on. Let us repent, turn around, and believe in the gospel. Let us recognize that many of the gains we have made are really a loss. Let us deepen our resolve to follow the path of Jesus who alone is our way, our truth, our light, our salvation.
God’s economy is a gift economy. Learn about www.SabbathEconomics.org
Heavenly Creator, we ask you to guide us in soul-searching and self-examining the ways of the world that distance us from your love. Help us to recognize some of the gains we have achieved that are indeed a loss. Deepen our resolve to follow the path of Jesus, who alone is our way, our truth, our light, our salvation.
GOD MADE EARTH HOLY GROUND
MAR 20 2022
God is the Creator of all. God created us, bushes, fire, clouds, seas, rocks, and fig trees. God made our earth holy ground.
Readings: Exodus 3: 1-8, 13-15, Ps 103: 1-4, 6-8, 11, 1 Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12, Luke 13: 1-9
It is said that since God created nature’s laws, God can change them. So a burning bush that is not consumed is no big deal for God. How creation lifts our hearts and minds to God! How our ground is holy as Jesus walked on our earth. How we want to respect God by respecting God’s creation. How we want to love God by loving God’s creatures.
- When walking, bless the ground with one word as you step with your right foot, another with your left. Some ides: Thanks, Yes, Glory to God.
- Tend your plants and fertilize them naturally.
- Give to a charity that supports our natural world. Suggestions: The Hummingbird Project (based at St. Pat’s) or the Xerces Society.
That we may open ourselves to realizing the ways in which we don’t respect God’s creation or love God’s creatures and repent.
TASTE & SEE
MAR 27 2022
Readings: Joshua 5: 9-12, Ps 34: 2-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Did you know that there is actually word for spending money or resources freely and recklessly, wastefully, extravagantly and improvidently? That word is “prodigal”!
In this Sunday’s readings, the psalmist insists that we “Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord.” Certainly everything God has created—the beauty, the food, the air, the water—is literally God’s goodness, and we are entreated to see it and taste it. But our prodigal ways are endangering our inheritance. Some climate refugees cannot see their homeland anymore, and many people in our cities are bereft of trees and are getting sick from air pollution. Even what we can taste from the fruits of our lands is being threatened and destroyed by wild fires and floods. Still, like the prodigal son, we can change.
Let us ask God for the grace to become aware of and relinquish our prodigal ways and shame. Let us claim our common home, reconciling with our brothers and sisters and tending together our inheritance, this beautiful and amazing earth.
- Look up the Laudato Si’ Action Platform to learn what other Catholics are doing in response to the current needs of our common home.
- Before one meal, pray “Taste and See the Goodness of God,” or read all of Psalm 34
- In your prayer time this week, reflect on the times you were the brother in the gospel (blinded from God’s generosity, jealous of others) and when you were the prodigal son (mindlessly and recklessly consuming the goods God has given for all to share).
- Pick one day during Lent to visit the green infrastructure projects at St. Casmir, 8223 Sowinski Ave., Cleveland. View the permeable pavers the parish has installed to allow rain water to pass through the pavers and enter the ground , thus not contributing to the stress on our streams and lakes.
- Let us pray for for what Pope Francis calls our “ecological conversion.” That the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in our relationships with the world around us.
- Let us pray to be proper stewards of the earth , befitting of becoming new creations through baptism
- Let us pray to be willing to become informed of how our life choices benefit or distress our environment.
GOD INVITES US HOME
APR 3 2022
God invites us to come home and thrive better than we have been while separated from the blessings we’ve been missing out on in our waywardness.
Readings: Isaiah 43: 16-21, Ps 126: 1-6, Philippians 3: 8-14, John 8: 1-11
What happens in today’s readings is homecoming –what St. Paul in 2 Corinthians calls reconciliation. This is what God has done for us in Christ, he says. And, as a result, “the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” In the first reading, new life in the land, their homeland, has come. The manna, desert fare, ceases; in its place are unleavened cakes and parched grain, the yield of Canaan. God has brought them home from slavery in Egypt and years of wandering in the wilderness. In the Gospel, the old dissolute life of the younger son gives way to new life provided for in his father’s house.
Earth, God’s home for us, never stops providing for us. Earth will welcome us back to our natural home once we decide to return and place our trust in her. We are called to trust that Earth’s blessings are abundant enough. We don’t need to take too much nor burden God’s creation with our excessive demands and wastefulness.
- Be mindful of our attitude of “scarcity” concerning our needs and wants. Let us consciously cultivate an “abundance” attitude that appreciates that God wants us to enjoy appropriate satisfaction in harmony with nature and human communities.
- Let us cultivate an attitude of abundance and avoid thoughts of scarcity. God wants us to enjoy appropriate satisfaction in harmony with nature and human communities.
- When buying and fixing food, make fitting choices to sustain our home for everyone. Offer an occasion for celebration of being at home in God’s world.
- Find ways to get more direct contact with those who grow our food, such as farmer’s markets and community gardens.
That we may taste and see the goodness of the Lord in receiving our daily bread, and in sharing to enable that all God’s people have their needs met, and in acting to renew the earth’s generous providing be protected and sustained.