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Earth Day 2019: We are stewards of Creation, and we must act like it

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By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
4/22/2019 (4 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

A reminder that we have just this Earth, and we are responsible for the care of creation.

Today is Earth Day and Pope Francis has previously called for us "to see the world through the eyes of the God the Creator." As news accumulates to suggest our activities are putting the planet in peril, we must recognize our role as stewards of creation.

Earth belongs to God and we are its stewards.

Earth belongs to God and we are its stewards.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/22/2019 (4 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Earth Day, creation, stewards


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Imagine you are in a lifeboat with a dozen other people. There's food, water, and blankets for everyone, but these are not distributed evenly. Some people are sitting on more blankets than they need. Others want to drink all the water or eat all the food. Some refuse to row. Most believe the situation is fine because they say rescue is coming, but they have no way of justifying their optimism. 

This is like our situation on Earth. Our resources are distributed unevenly so that some have much while others have nothing. There are many who want to consume everything. There are those who think salvation is on the horizon, so there is no need to bother with conservation. There are the greedy, the lazy, and those who argue that sharing is somehow a kind of injustice. 

This is the challenge we face as stewards of creation. It is one that has been recognized by Pope Francis in Laudato Si, his green encyclical. 

We may assume that Jesus is coming and all our cares will be washed away, but what if we are wrong? Since the earliest days of the faith, there have been those with this opinion, and they have advocated no care for tomorrow. In 2 Thessalonians, Paull Silas and Timothy dealt with this very issue, breaking the heresy by decreeing: "For even while we were with you, we gave you this command: 'If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat.'"

Christ could come tomorrow, or perhaps not for another two thousand years. Nobody knows for sure, and given this fact, we cannot assume we will be excused from the consequences of our actions. Even if Christ's return was imminent, we would still be guilty of sin for failing our duty as stewards of creation. 

Creation care means we care for the Earth and we manage its abundance for the benefit of all people, not just a fortunate or industrious few. The blessings of the Earth are not only for the rich or the lucky. There is an obligation to work -- this is a product of the Fall, but every person who labors should be granted enough, especially in this age of industrial production. There is no excuse to do otherwise. 

There are many who will argue because their fortunes are tied to the status quo. Any measure to clean up the environment or to manage resources sustainably or equitably would take from their hoard. Yet, we have a sacred, holy obligation to do just that. It is not a sin to be rich, but it is a sin to become rich by destroying the gifts God has granted to all humanity. 

It does not matter if CO2 is warming the planet or not. It matters that we should not pollute. 

We have long treated Earth like a luxury liner with an endless buffet of plants and creatures to consume. But it is time to consider that we may be in a lifeboat and rescue may not come for awhile. It is prudent and wise to conserve what we have and to ensure that all people have enough.

As stewards of creation, we are reminded the Earth belongs to God, not us. We have a sacred obligation to care for it. As the parable of the talents illustrates, we should increase the master's treasure, not squander or bury it. Woe unto those that do!

 

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