Homily – September 22, 2019

Around the world young people are staging demonstrations on what they call ‘Fridays for the Future’. It is a concerted effort of these young people to sensitize men and women and children and especially politicians to the realities of climate change, a change that is effecting and will affect the lives of all of us in not too many years from now.

Many of these demonstrations are inspired by the young Danish activist Greta Thunberg who sailed from Denmark to New York to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit tomorrow, a meeting President Trump will not attend. These world-wide protests are meant to send a message to politicians to take climate change seriously and to work toward keeping global warming to a maximum of 1.5 Celsius.

Ms. Thunberg says that these worldwide demonstrations are meant to hold those who are the most responsible for the global crisis accountable. Well that’s all of us, not just politicians. This present crisis didn’t just happen yesterday. Scientists had been warning us for years about global warming and climate change. We’ve been warned many times that we humans have to live with the limits of Earth’s resources, resources that are not equally shared by the human family. There are the haves and the have nots, we’re among the ‘haves’. We are living on a sick planet, a planet polluted and diminished by toxic air, polluted water and toxic soil. The destruction of the manmade fires destroying the rain forests in Brazil and Indonesian are a crime against Earth and humanity. And it’s all for profit. Our own Mayor tells us something we already know, ‘in the past few years our city has been dealing with the effects of more flooding, our city in getting hotter, wetter and wilder and our climate risks are increasing.

What has all this got to do with today’s gospel? Just go to the words of the rich man who caught his steward abusing his trust and stealing; ‘you can be steward no longer.’

In one of the stories of creation found in the Book of Genesis we’re told of God deciding,’ let us make humankind in our own image and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and over all the wild animals.’ One of our hymns sings,’ made us lords of all creation, everything is ours to use and abuse. These texts have given humankind a twisted attitude toward God’s good creation. We exploit nature, abuse nature, even try to control nature. We humans believe we are over and above nature. That’s our ingrained mindset and that’s why humanity, us, are in the mess we are in.

The human family is enmeshed in the life systems of Earth. As I’ve said before ‘The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth and what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. 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.

You can be steward no longer – that might be the message of the countless young people from around the world to us. We’ve blown it and they’ve been part of that by their own lives styles and throw away mentality. Hopefully their sense of social justice and ecological awareness, their concern for the future of the planet and their future will have an impact on the leaders of the world meeting at the UN. Hopefully.