Luke 13: 1-9.
that the people killed by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique,
are not worse sinners
than we are.
We know that those who died
in the floods of Malawi and Zimbabwe
are not worse offenders
than anyone else on our planet.
We shouldn't be indifferent to these events.
We are all your children,
just as they are.
None of us are perfect.
But all of us
to reduce our impact on our earth
so that our sisters and brothers
where the effects of climate change are strongest
have half a chance.
So that we all have half a chance.
And all of us
to turn from fear and indifference
to loving action
so that our sisters and brothers
all over the globe
in peace and sufficiency.
You are the Master Gardener.
You see our barren branches,
our sins and shortcomings,
and still you give us
May your tender care
to change our lives and hearts
so that we may also offer
your tender care
to those who need it most.
What's even worse is that these effects "are insufficiently represented on global agendas" to the point that most of us go through our days without giving much thought to our brothers and sisters in developing countries (the other 88-92% of world population) whose lives are negatively impacted by our consumer demands. Except maybe when we see news reports like the ones from Mozambique this week.
The Holy Father and his writing team also note that "attention needs to be paid to imbalances in population density on both national and global levels, since a rise in consumption would lead to complex regional situations, as a result of the interplay between problems linked to environmental pollution, transport, waste treatment, loss of resources and quality of life" (paragraph 50).
Paragraph 51 clearly lays out the biggest problem -- the fact that the Global North's appetite for the planet's resources is huge in comparison to the Global South's, but it's the South that is feeling the worst effects -- environmental devastation through pollution, climate change, and the North's habit of exporting waste to the South (I read several reports this week on North American plastic waste being dumped in Malaysia because there's just too much to recycle).
Paragraph 52 points out that "The land of the southern poor is rich and mostly unpolluted, yet access to the ownership of goods and resources for meeting vital needs is inhibited by a system of commercial relationships and ownership which is structurally perverse." The rules are stacked against them. But Pope Francis wants us to change the rules, calling the northern rich to help pay ecological and social debt "by significantly limiting [our] consumption of non-renewable energy and by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development."
Probably the most important sentences in this entire section are the last two: "We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference."
What would Jesus do? In today's Gospel, he reminds us that those who experience disasters are just like us. If he was giving today's homily, I suspect he would urge us to turn back to God, drop our indifference, and start making a difference.
How have you heard the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor this past week? How have you responded to those cries? What is one thing you did? What is one thing you could have done?