Homily – November 19, 2017

This parable about the master who handed over his wealth to his servants in trust can be confusing.

We have to remember this parable is not about the stock market or entrepreneurship. It is about the bounty of life itself as well the awesome gifts of life and faith and how we invest these gifts of life and faith in the living of our own lives and the enriching of the lives of others.

Some people who visit here for the first time are struck by the difference between St. Gabriel’s and their own parish church. I try to explain that in planning the church we wanted to make an important element in our parish spirituality is to connect our worship nature and nature with our worship. We try to be aware of the beauty of Earth and the wounded-ness of Earth and we try to work toward the healing of Earth. Every now and then we are reminded to ‘live simply that others may simply live.

In one of the Prefaces we use during the year we pray;”

All things are of your making, times and seasons obey your laws but you chose to create us in your own image setting us over the whole world in all its wonder. You gave us the care of creation to praise you day by day for the marvels of your wisdom. The well – being of Earth has been entrusted to the human family, a family that is one with the family of all life on Earth. Remember the quote I’ve used so often,’ Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth and what we do to the Earth we do to ourselves.

The following thoughts are not mine; they are the reflections of Gerald Darring of St. Louis University;

”God our master has left us with the earth, not to do with it what we want but to care for it even as we live off of its abundant riches. God created the land to support living things: What will happen when God returns to find so much land strip-mined, forests strip-cleared, eroded, and burdened with toxic waste?

God created the waters to support living things: What will happen when God returns to find the oceans and rivers polluted with our garbage and chemical by-products? What will happen when God returns and discovers so many species of fish extinct?

God created the air to support living things: What will happen when God returns to find fresh clean air has been replaced with toxic fumes and smog?

God created plants and animals to live on this wonderful earth and revel in its beauty: What will happen when God returns to find so many of them driven to extinction by our destructive practices?

May we learn to care better for the Master’s goods so that when the Master returns, we will hear those blessed words: Well done good and faithful servant you have cared for and respected the world I gave you, enter into the joy of your Master.

We all have a unique responsibility under God to safeguard the created world and that responsibility requires of us that we live responsibly within it rather than trying to manage creation as though we are outside it. We did not weave the web of life; we are a strand in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass we pray that we will use wisely and justly the talents, the gifts of creation God has entrusted to us. May we be called good and trustworthy in the way we care for the gifts of nature entrusted to us.