It was promulgated by Pope Francis last year when he said: “Let us continue to grow in the awareness that we all live in a common home as members of a single family. This was also the theme of his 1st encyclical Laudato Si’ in 2015. And so, today we have Creation Sunday, a day in which we focus on praying for God’s creation and our responsibility to it.
In recent weeks we have witnessed in one part of the world the destruction caused by forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, storms and floods while in another part we have been horrified by the chaos and tragedy of people fleeing for their lives because they fear that their legitimate needs are not being listened to.
One of the countries these people have fled to is Pakistan where I spent 20 years on mission. This is a country that has been listed as the 5th most vulnerable in the world to climate change. In recent years Pakistan has experienced a total of 152 extreme weather disasters, from floods to heatwaves and storms which has led to the death of up to 10K people.
Very few people in the world now doubt the severity of the situation affecting climate change and the accompanying destruction of the environment. Pope Francis invites us to become ‘painfully’ aware of the extent of this crisis and engage in the eco-conversion that is needed to protect our common home. As we know it’s always the poor who are most affected by climate change. And so he urges us to listen to both the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.
“Hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Today and throughout this month we have an opportunity to reflect on our place within the story of creation and to accept our individual and collective responsibility to care for our common home. The Season of Creation offers all of us a unique opportunity to renew our vocation to become stewards of God’s creation and to remember that this ought not to be some add-on to our faith or optional extra, but rather the care of God’s creation should be at the centre of our call as Christians.
Every gift of life on earth displays God’s faithful presence, shedding light on our doubts, nourishing and strengthening us. We are urged to turn to Christ in our troubles and dream new things, to call on Jesus in our pain and to grow in hope for our journey.
In the gospel today Jesus cures the deaf man – a reminder to us not only to appreciate the gift of hearing but also to use this gift to listen attentively to the needs of others and especially to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.
During the Season of Creation we pray also for the success of the climate conferences taking place this autumn at the UN summit on biodiversity in China and the summit on Climate Change in Glasgow. We pray that these gatherings may take the necessary steps that the climate emergency requires so that God’s creation may truly become- in the words of Pope Francis – ‘A home for all’.