Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 330

God also said:
"See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food."

A contemporary, scientific narrative of the formation of the Earth might not reassure humanity about its place in the world. It would not express the satisfaction of, "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good." Nor would it contain the phrase, "I give you...."

Our faith assures us we belong, are welcome and have a meaningful place in God's world. We may "increase and multiply" and eat "all the green plants for food." (Later, in the same Book of Genesis (9:3), the Lord will permit us to eat meat.)

With the heated debates about climate change and whether it is the result of human activity, we should return to Genesis 1 and remember both the assurance our Benevolent God has given us that we belong here, and the grave responsibility for its care.

Until recently we had no idea our presence and activity could be so devastating. Like adolescents with immature brains, we did not consider the far-reaching consequences of our behavior. When the gasoline-powered automobile first appeared, the atmosphere with its billions of trees seemed more than capable of absorbing the excess carbon. No one dreamed at the time what billions of automobiles might do. 

Eventually, we will learn the limits of our Planet Earth and how to maintain a reasonable equilibrium. We will learn because we have no choice and the environment will become more and more hostile to human life. If the turnaround takes a thousand years the planet has all the time in the universe and doesn't really care about human life one way or the other. Plants and animals have pain but only the human suffers, because we know the causes of pain and what it means. When our suffering is sufficient we'll change our ways.  

All the while, Genesis invites us to contemplate our beautiful planet and the Gracious God who has made us creatures of Earth. The Bible assures us we belong here, and rationality reminds us there is no where else in the Universe that could remotely fit our needs.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.