Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of the Season of Creation. In this Season of Creation, we are being called to recognize the global climate emergency in which we are living. The planet is warming dangerously because of our use of fossil fuels and our systems of production and consumption. The ways our economies function and the values they serve are depleting and wasting Earth’s resources, creating great inequalities, suffering and injustice, and exceeding Earth’s regenerative capacity. Earth is crying out, the poor are crying out, the existence and wellbeing of future generations is threatened.
In today’s first reading, the Prophet Isaiah tells us God is near to all who call upon God. We are invited to enter into contemplative reverence in the midst of creation before the greatness of God, the source of Earth and all the universe. Love of God’s creation in all its beauty, intricacy, and lavish goodness can spark love in our hearts and guide us in caring for creation as it needs to be cared for.
Isaiah’s urgent call to seek God while God is near and can be found, resonates deeply with the warnings of climate experts for these times: that “only with rapid and far-reaching transitions in the world economy on a scale and at a rate without historical precedent” can humanity avoid the tipping points that will bring great devastation to life around Earth.
The Gospel today is the parable of the Landowner and the Workers. God’s ways are not our ways. This parable, in which the owner of the vineyard gives a full day’s wage to all, regardless of how long they worked, often stirs complaints about fairness.
But those who worked the longest, the whole day, received what they had agreed was a just wage. The wages of day laborers are often all that their family has to survive on for a given day; and so the generosity of the vineyard owner served to meet the people’s basic daily needs.
This parable shows us a compensation system based on the agreed-upon value of certain work and care to meet the basic needs of all workers. It is not based upon comparative, competitive, unlimited accumulation.
God’s ways challenge us. A central belief of the Catholic Social Tradition confesses that the Earth is God’s and everything in it. Creation is a gift of God to all people and living creatures, a gift to provide for the needs of all for survival, growth, and flourishing.
To accumulate and cling to more and more than one needs while others live in desperate poverty is a serious sin against creation and the Creator. It is the situation of human life on Earth today: a grave pattern of injustice that undermines peace and survival planet-wide.
Let us recall that the theme of this season is “Jubilee”. The biblical vision of Jubilee was chosen as the theme for this year’s celebration of the Season of Creation because, in the words of the international ecumenical steering committee, “Jubilee is a time to renounce overconsumption and economic systems based on constant economic growth at the cost of the Earth and those who are poor.”
“Jubilee is a time of rest for the land from constant exploitation, to restore ecosystems and people.”
“The theme of Jubilee affirms the need for equality, justice and sustainability, and a transition of sustainable economies.”
Peace and Good.
(taken from Season of Creation booklet 2020)
For resources and information, visit: https://www.sdcatholic.org/office-for/family-life-and-spirituality/creation-care-for-families/