September 11, 2022, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Liturgy: Reading of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke (15:1-32).
Reflection by Sally Simpson, from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Sunday Liturgy Notes for SOC 2022:
In today’s Gospel from Luke 15, we have 2 brothers. And as is sometimes the case in families, they don’t seem to have much of a relationship with each other. Yet both of them can proclaim “Our Father”.
One son “squandered his property in dissolute living” and we read that he is then faced with famine. During this Season of Creation, this text echoes the squandering of the earth’s resources. We haae used and abused the resources of the earth with greed, placing “I” at the centre, dominating all of creation and God’s creatures. We are now seeing the consequences of this squandering as our world faces multiple environmental crises. We have squandered our inheritance and the inheritance of future generations. Our lack of wisdom and over consumption has led to massive extinction of animal and plant species, the oceans are dying, rainforests are being destroyed, the climate is in crisis. While this is the result of our lifestyles the consequences of our actions are being lived by our brothers and sisters in other parts of our common home.
They are in poverty, they are homeless, without food and clean water, without education for the children, without health care. These are our brothers and sisters living in this way. Can we look at them and say with them “Our Father”? Pope Francis tells us in Laudato Si’ that “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth…The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. (LS, 161). Laudato Si’ also tells us that “all is not lost”. Like the younger son in the parable today we can ‘come to our senses’, turn around, and make a new start. Each of us can do something, each of us has a role to play in order to bring healing to our common home. We ask “Our Father” for forgiveness and we can pledge to living out our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork.
As we all ‘come to our senses’ in relation to the climate and biodiversity crises, Pope Francis tells us in Laudato Si’ to never underestimate the power of small actions which can have a ripple effect across a community; he tells us that “Truly, much can be done!” (LS, 180).
So today, during this Season of Creation, we are invited to take up this call, to listen to the voice of creation and discern where we are being called to act, in our own homes, in our local communities, to care more deeply for our common home.