We “seniors” have fond memories of “South Pacific”, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Ezio Pinza. The melody in our heads with my text might help lead us into insights on today’s scripture readings with descriptions of nature’s power. A second reason for the introduction piece is that I couldn’t find the melody for the “Song of Songs” from the Old Testament. A lyrical praise of human love, it has names of 21 plants and 15 animals.
Finally, the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si” “Care For Our Common Home” (also: “Custody of Our Holy Earth”) calls us to reflect on the same subject: our environment. The 184 pages contain ideas that a homily in no way can cover. Some American politicians, and luxury-style environmentalists, I haven’t read reactions of Europeans, say the Pope shouldn’t deal in politics. You yourselves have seen or have read lots of reactions. We can rely, as one choice, on the help of the literary take on creation by ST. Francis of Assisi, “Custodia Sanctae Terrae”, “Canticle of the Creatures”. ST. Francis sings the praise of God for creatures, for those who forgive, and for Sister Death. We listen to, pray for , and converse about the beauty of creation. POPE Francis calls on us to care for creation. But we also know the negative forces of nature: fire, water, heat, and cold as well as earthquakes. Of themselves, these forces exhibit the power and extent of creation. But none of the results of their workings are sins against our Creator.
Enter the human equation. US! The list of negative considerations in our modern daily life is long. The abominable situation of water use and supply is getting more critical. POPE Francis emphasizes water issues and access. Animal factory farms consume amounts of water that are almost unimaginable. Water usage to grow plants converted into fuel for the automobile industry is immense. POPE Francis highlights the culture of food waste and the throwaway culture. So many millions don’t know where their next meal will come from, while 40% of fresh vegetables, grown in the agricultural areas of the US, never reach the consumer, but end up as land fill. The catastrophes occurring during the transportation of oil on our oceans are immense. The amount of food not consumed in eateries and eating establishments of all sorts and social levels is a scandal. Again the amount ends up as land fill. Oceans have become the biggest garbage dumps on earth. WW II ships of all sorts, blown up with surplus explosives, have sunk in the Atlantic. Land mines and WW II explosives still endanger people in Europe. What horrendous tragedies did Agent Orange do in, and still does after, the Vietnam War?
In God’s conversation with Job in the first reading and in the responsorial psalm, we’re asked to rely on God’s wisdom. His is the promise that we’ll have a decent life as long as we thankfully respond to his ultimate care for us. In the second reading and in the gospel the promise of a new start demand a mature and vibrant faith. The POPE’S writing, combined with our good works and hard work, is needed to maintain this world of ours.