71. Although “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen 6:5) and the Lord “was sorry that he had made man on the earth” (Gen 6:6), nonetheless, through Noah, who remained innocent and just, God decided to open a path of salvation. In this way he gave humanity the chance of a new beginning. All it takes is one good person to restore hope! The biblical tradition clearly shows that this renewal entails recovering and respecting the rhythms inscribed in nature by the hand of the Creator. We see this, for example, in the law of the Sabbath. On the seventh day, God rested from all his work. He commanded Israel to set aside each seventh day as a day of rest, a Sabbath, (cf. Gen 2:2-3; Ex 16:23; 20:10). Similarly, every seven years, a sabbatical year was set aside for Israel, a complete rest for the land (cf. Lev 25:1-4), when sowing was forbidden and one reaped only what was necessary to live on and to feed one’s household (cf. Lev 25:4-6). Finally, after seven weeks of years, which is to say forty-nine years, the Jubilee was celebrated as a year of general forgiveness and “liberty throughout the land for all its inhabitants” (cf. Lev 25:10). This law came about as an attempt to ensure balance and fairness in their relationships with others and with the land on which they lived and worked. At the same time, it was an acknowledgment that the gift of the earth with its fruits belongs to everyone. Those who tilled and kept the land were obliged to share its fruits, especially with the poor, with widows, orphans and foreigners in their midst: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, neither shall you gather the gleanings after the harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner” (Lev 19:9-10).
Reflection: “All it takes is one good person to restore hope!” Reflect on this in light of so much violence and destruction in the world today. Are you that one good person in the circles of influence in which you are a part? What role does Sabbath play for you – a day set apart for rest? What connection is there for you between being one good person of hope and Sabbath? Talk with another person about your reflections.
Action: Research the needs of a local food bank or food sharing program where you live. How are the “fruits of the land” shared? What are their needs? How is this linked to jubilee? Share what you learn with someone else.
Prayer for Ukraine and for Peace
Read the Council’s statement on the mass shootings in Buffalo. Be sure to follow up and read the recommended analysis of these racially motivated shootings here. Talk about it with those you know and those you influence. In the face of evil silence is not acceptable. Learn about “replacement theory” and the lies that are being both perpetrated and believed. Both contemplation and action are required. We are called to be lifelong learners and teachers; what do you need to learn and teach more about?
The Power of Big Oil is a three-part video series on Frontline (PBS). Watch Part One: Denial here, Part Two: Doubt here. This week watch Part Three: Delay. Plan to watch it with someone or create a group to watch it and discuss it afterward. All three parts are now available free and online.
Laudato Si’ Week is May 22-29, 2022. Register here for the full range of events involved around the world. There are many resources available that can be found here. There will be a premiere of a Laudato Si' documentary for the general public on May 27 that will feature Pope Francis. On the Laudato Si Week webpage you can register for events, to receive more information, and find links to the daily activities and streaming videos. Access to the videos and others can be found at the Laudato Si' Movement YouTube channel.
The arts offer us ways to imagine and reimagine the world. Read this article about how artists change the story-telling of climate change. Consider joining this Virtual Eco-Poetry Retreat, which offers eco-poetry as a path to transformation.
All change begins with one small step. Commit yourself to reading the Laudato Si’ reflection each week. One paragraph at a time you can stop and reflect on what we are all called to as a Laudato Si’ community!
The Online Child Exploitation webinar last week was a sobering and startling education on the use of technology to reach and exploit children. We’ll highlight something we learned each week, and will resource you over the next year on the issues involved. One of the points made was this: Do not call the exploitation of children “child pornography” which many assume means an under age teen looking at Playboy. These explicit uses of children for sex and profit is rightly called “Child Sexual Abuse Materials” (CSAM). The abuse and images of CSAM use children as young as infants. Language matters. Share this with others.
Justice for Immigrants
“Replacement theory” is fueling anti-immigrant beliefs and behavior across the country. Read more here. This National Immigration Forum page explains what it means and the history of how it has developed. This is how the intersectionality of Dismantling Racism and Justice for Immigrants works. Talk to others about what you learn.
AMSSND Gospel Fund recipient Sr. Judi Bourg SSND is highlighted in this NCR Global Sisters report for her work at the border in Douglas, Arizona. Share this article and your thoughts with someone else.