Care for God’s Creation

 Week 7 Care for God's Creation  Comments Off on Care for God’s Creation
Nov 082017
 

We show our respect and love for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan; it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

Scripture

God made the heavens and the earth and it was good.

Genesis 1:31  31God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.       

Humans are commanded to care for God’s creation.

Genesis 2:15    15The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.

The land itself must be given a rest and not abused.

Leviticus 25:1-7   The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai: 2 Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, let the land, too, keep a sabbath for the LORD. 3For six years you may sow your field, and for six years prune your vineyard, gathering in their produce. 4But during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath for the LORD, when you may neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. 5The aftergrowth of your harvest you shall not reap, nor shall you pick the grapes of your untrimmed vines. It shall be a year of rest for the land. 6While the land has its sabbath, all its produce will be food to eat for you yourself and for your male and female slave, for your laborer and the tenant who live with you, 7and likewise for your livestock and for the wild animals on your land.

All of heaven and earth belong to the Lord

Deuteronomy 10:14   14Look, the heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it.

All the earth is the Lord’s.

Psalm 24:1-2   The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it. 2For he founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.

Creation proclaims the glory of God.

Daniel 3:56-82

56Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,

     *praiseworthy and glorious forever.

57Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

58Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

59You heavens, bless the Lord,

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

60All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord,

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

61All you powers, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

62Sun and moon, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

63Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

64Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

65All you winds, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

66Fire and heat, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

67Cold and chill, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

68Dew and rain, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

69Frost and chill, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

70Hoarfrost and snow, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

71Nights and days, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

72Light and darkness, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

73Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

74Let the earth bless the Lord,

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

75Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

76Everything growing on earth, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

77You springs, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

78Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

79You sea monsters and all water creatures, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

80All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

81All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever.

82All you mortals, bless the Lord;

     *praise and exalt him above all forever

God loves and cares for all of creation

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? 27Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? 28Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. 29But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. 30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ 32All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. 34Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Creation reveals the nature of God

Romans 1:20   20Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.

 

Tradition  

A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. . . . Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society. (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si’. . . ],nos. 49, 91)

The notion of the common good also extends to future generations. The global economic crises have made painfully obvious the detrimental effects of disregarding our common destiny, which cannot exclude those who come after us. We can no longer speak of sustainable development apart from intergenerational solidarity. Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.  (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si’. . . ], no. 159)

We human beings are not only the beneficiaries but also the stewards of other creatures. Thanks to our bodies, God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. Let us not leave in our wake a swath of destruction and death which will affect our own lives and those of future generations.(Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Guadium. . . ], no. 215)

The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. . . Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. (Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth [Caritas in Veritate]. . . , nos. 48, 51)

Changes in lifestyle based on traditional moral virtues can ease the way to a sustainable and equitable world economy in which sacrifice will no longer be an unpopular concept. For many of us, a life less focused on material gain may remind us that we are more than what we have. Rejecting the false promises of excessive or conspicuous consumption can even allow more time for family, friends, and civic responsibilities. A renewed sense of sacrifice and restraint could make an essential contribution to addressing global climate change. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good)

Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way. . . . Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God’s prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which man can indeed develop but must not betray.  Instead of carrying out his role as a co-operator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him. (St. John Paul II, On the Hundredth Year [Centesimus Annus. . . ], no. 37)

The dominion granted to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to “use and misuse,” or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitation imposed from the beginning by the Creator himself and expressed symbolically by the prohibition not to “eat of the fruit of the tree” (cf. Gen 2:16-17) shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity. A true concept of development cannot ignore the use of the elements of nature, the renewability of resources and the consequences of haphazard industrialization – three considerations which alert our consciences to the moral dimension of development.(St. John Paul II, On Social Concerns [Sollicitudo rei Socialis. . . ], no. 34)

©2017 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops