On the news yesterday, listeners heard about the Irish Seal Sanctuary’s (ISS) investigation into the deaths of eight seals on beaches in Co Wexford. Members of the ISS are not exactly sure what happened. It is likely that “harsh conditions or entanglement” could have played a part in their deaths. Something in the environment might be responsible either. Investigation is essential because the ISS think what happened ‘might affect us all.’ Due to the ravages of pollution in the oceans and loss of biodiversity, changes are happening in our common home. Discarded plastic and other dumped materials, which Pope Francis says is the result of a ‘throwaway culture’ have devastating consequences for marine life and the ocean itself.
The first reading proclaimed at Mass today from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 6) tells what happens God’s people when they turn away from God. They get lost. In the reading it seems like God will punish them but that is not the case. When God’s people sin they separate themselves from God’s love. God saw that ‘the wickedness of man was great on earth.’ God’s heart grieved. God’s heart still grieves today when God sees the mutilation of the planet, the destruction of the forests, the effects of climate change on people living in poverty, the loss of biodiversity, the lack of respect for the environment and the destruction of the web of life. When God created the earth God saw, all that he made was good. God created humankind and gifted them with life and love. God continues to do that.
God also sent his Son Jesus to show God’s love on earth. In the Gospel (Mark 8:14-21) proclaimed today, Jesus knows how difficult it is to teach the disciples because of their lack of understanding and insight. He asks them a myriad of questions, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear? Or do you not remember?’ Then he reminds them of the miracle he worked with the loaves and fish. Finally, he says ‘have you no perception?’
Today Jesus asks the faithful the same questions. It is time for us to open our eyes to see what is happening in the world and recognise the Creator, the source of all life. God loves us unconditionally and continually seeks those who stray from his love. This is a sign of hope.
Pope Francis calls every person in the whole world to an eco-conversion.
Tomorrow, the Church begins the season Lent, a particular time in the liturgical year to turn our hearts towards God. Today is Pancake Tuesday
For families who accompany their children in faith, you may like to know that Pope Francis’ teaching on care of our common home is a dominant theme in the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Religious Education programme.
VERITAS publications gives free access during these days of pandemic and home schooling to the public who wish to use the online interactive activities, including the Children’s Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Textbook or e-book. Access is available.
PRAY: Care for the Earth/ Cúram don Domhan Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé
- In your Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé textbook or e-book for your class standard read what Pope Francis says about caring for our common home
- Help to make the pancakes at home
- What type of environment is most suitable for seals?
- Find out why there is such a day as Pancake Tuesday.
REFLECT: In what ways are you caring for the environment in your family home?
DRAW: You might like to draw a poster to remind your family of caring for our common home. Display it for everyone to see.
- An Áit Álainn seo… I nGrá Dé Rang V
- God has Given us the Earth Grow in Love Fifth Class/ p7. Sixth Class
Sr Anne Neylon