No matter who you are nor where you come from, the Church offers in its very being and in its historical development the possibility of living as brothers and sisters, diverse but united as a Christian family. This is especially significant in today’s world that excludes so many and that excludes some even more according to their purchasing power. All of us as sons and daughters of God bring something valuable to our Body, the People of God, our Family (powerful ancient expressions recovered with the Second Vatican Council). We come from different cultures and circumstances across our world! To live in diversity and communion, as we’ve been trying to do over two thousand years, with our mistakes and successes, “moving forward together”, is today a very valuable reality in the perspective of the globality of the planet, a living and proven experience to share with all other people and creatures.
Among ourselves, we also value things that the world perhaps no longer values: we make a clear preferential option for the impoverished. And we learn together. For example, the poorest brothers and sisters today teach others to make better use of scarce natural resources, to share in family and community, to never lose faith, to demand justice, to value each day of life. On every continent today too we look to the indigenous peoples (LS 143-146; Compendium of Social Doctrine n. 180 and 471), excluded by colonialism and developmentalist expansion, whose wisdom in the management of their ecosystems (forest, mountain or marine life) today captures the attention of ecological and social research. They who have been historically excluded and oppressed are now the ones who best know how to live in communion with creation. Lord has already said: “Many who are last will be first” (Mk 10:31).
In creation, everything is interrelated and interdependent, everything created has a meaning, an intention, a loving desire to exist. Therefore, when a part is damaged or altered, the whole suffers, when a species is eliminated (LS 32-42) or a river course is artificially changed, the whole ecosystem becomes unbalanced. As in the Church, to which we have also been incorporated in our Baptism: “Just as the body is one and there are diverse members”, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (cf. 1 Cor 12). St. Paul reminds us that we shouldn’t assume that being different excludes us from the community, the Body of Christ, but rather, God wants us to be different and diverse in our human being, each person developing their own life, according to their origins, history and circumstances. In our natural diversities (ethnicity, sexuality, abilities, virtues…) and cultural diversities (traditions, rituals, jobs, studies, artistic expressions, hobbies, tastes…) we are all necessary as we belong to a single biosphere.
Diversity in ecosystems is a guarantee of health and prosperity: the more species and interactions, the more equilibrium and mechanisms of reciprocal regulation. Likewise, we Christians have sought to live the Gospel since the first centuries of our Church, as a communion of diverse and fraternal persons and peoples, perhaps unknowingly shaping the future sustainability of our species. The Creator’s will is to include us all in his Trinitarian love (LS 240), in his family, and perhaps overcoming fratricidal separations is the only way, through the grace of the Creator Spirit and desired by the Creator, for us to successfully face the challenges of our growth and future governance of the planet.
The Eucharist is the greatest wonder (LS 236) that we can experience today in life, enjoying it also from our sensitivity of integral ecology (LS chap. 4). If you have experienced it in a large gathering, if you have participated in a celebration in Rome, if you belong to a parish or school that welcomes everyone without distinction, you are living God’s dream for our planet. Brothers and sisters united, together, who sing, ask and thank him, who listen to the Good News in their own language and meditate and deepen it with their ministry, who forgive each other and offer themselves generously, who commit themselves to the most needy and integrate the excluded, who eat at the same table to the one and shared God, who go out in peace to the world…. is it not the best we can offer to our Humanity in this difficult time? Is it not the best call to Communion among human beings and with all living beings? It is the first fruits of cosmic love (LS 236). Our Eucharist, our ultimate thanksgiving, expresses well the unity within diversity, the fraternity within different people: the next time you celebrate Mass, enjoy the best perpetual, global, poor, healing and hopeful event, where the one who LIVES gives life to the world.