Sept. 26, 2021
1st Reading: Nm 11:25-29, Psalm: Ps 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14, 2nd Reading: Jas 5:1-6, Gospel: Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
In today’s second reading from the Letter of St. James (Jas 5:1-6), there is a dire warning for us that Pope Francis reiterates in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’: “the earth cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the good with which God has endowed her.” St. James calls out the people who have “lived on earth in luxury and pleasure.” They have gathered to themselves riches that will “devour…flesh like a fire.” Their gold and silver have corroded, their wealth rotted away. Why? Because they have “withheld the wages from the workers who harvested their fields and are crying aloud.”
Have we not all been guilty of these offenses to varying degrees? Haven’t we all, to some extent, not heeded the priorities of our covenant of love and respect for one another and God? Have we not in moments when we fear and looked elsewhere for security “fattened our hearts” (Jas 5:5), by our over consumption of material goods, our grabbing of power and prestige, and our neglect of the mere subsistence level of the needs of others?
Yet God in His unfathomable goodness asks us to “enlarge the tent” under which we live. He will bless each person who chooses to act in His name, do works in His name, expel demons in His name! It is not too late for us to embrace the fact that we have been given an awesome work to care for this creation by which God has so richly blessed us. Any one of us TODAY may find God’s spirit resting on them. “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” (Nm 11:29).
Today, let us make that claim! Let us be prophets! Let us lead the way to care for our Common Home. We can use the power God has bestowed on us to change our wasteful ways which harm the earth and our fellow creatures. Why waste these opportunities to Praise God? When we pick up litter, reduce our spending, recycle—we can join others in sustainable actions, feed neighbors near and far. Let us shout, “Laudato Si’!!!!!!!!!!”
God of all life, we give thanks for the gift of the earth, our common home. At this time, too many people, the oceans, and the eco-systems of the earth are struggling to survive. Help us to change our ways and guide us to live a life which is not centered exclusively on ourselves but on the needs of others and the worship of you as our ultimate concern…
Each day this week, use the prayer below as a meditation to assist yourself to increase your awareness of the needs of the earth and to empower yourself to do something about them.