Under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars
The readings and the psalm for this Sunday are carefully chosen to reflect God`s marvelous plan of creation and redemption. And here we are not confined to the human population only but we are meant to take in the whole environment that includes the earth and all that adorns it – animals, birds, plants and vegetation.(You can throw in the sun as well on which all life depends , together with our nearest neighbours in space , the moon, mars, the other planets) After that things get too big for us to notice any impact on ourselves or our environment.
The 1st reading consists of just two verses, from the Prophet Isaiah.these verses are from Chapter 55, the last chapter of what is called Second Isaiah.As such this is seen as separate from the first part of the book which derives from Isaiah of Jerusalem. It is also distinct from the third part which begins with Chapter 66..
Second Isaiah deals in a highly original way with creation and the creator.Indeed here the sacred writer was the first to use the Hebrew word `bara` meaning `to create`, a term that was later taken up by the authors of Genesis in telling the story of creation.
Here in the 1st reading the author keenly observes the cycle of nature – the rains fertilize the dry and arid land and later water from sea is sucked back up into the sky by the heat of the sun. Without this God-given process, the author suggests, we would not be able to survive.This is meant to humble human pride. We are totally dependent on the climate for our food. The spiritual lesson here is obvious also – God works in human hearts through his all-powerful Word and human resistance to that word can never frustrate God`s will.
The Psalm again reminds us of God`s goodness.
`You care for the earth, give it water , you fill it with riches.`
As Slim Dusty used to sing, `When the rains tumbles down in July`
God is here the supreme ecologist and we also should be concerned to care for the earth. Climate change science is of course the hottest issue of all , if I may use that word , at the present time . In the public debate and in Parliament we have seen how divisive this issue can be . Because the question of carbon tax will impact on peoples` pockets, there is no way in which there can be an objective debate on the matter. Obviously the young lady and the 50 academics who signed the protest against Lord Monckton speaking at Notre Dame would prefer that there be no debate, in case people would be in a position to make up their own minds from the evidence. We have seen this style of protest before in the Pro-abortion and anti-religious lobbies – probably both the same.If these people were in power you certainly would have no debate and you would be fined for having an opinion.
In the second reading from Romans, St.Paul takes up a position that would warm the hearts of ardent ecologists and environmentalists. According to him the transformation we hope for through Christ is not limited to the human sphere.
`Creation still retains the hope of being freed from its slavery to decadence , to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. The greenest of the greens could not state the case better than this.
It is in the light of passages like this that people can insist, for example , on human treatment for animals in Indonesia.
Finally we come to the gospel for today with its famous parable of the sower.Jesus is talking about God`s word as Isaiah was. He tells us God`s word is looking for receptive soil. As well as soil erosion which happens in Australia, we can allow certain things to erode the soil in our hearts so that nothing can grow.For that reason we need to examine our receptivity and see what is preventing God`s word from taking root and bearing fruit..It could be some addiction or other, a sinful habit, and insensitivity to the needs of others in our family or in the community.These need to be faced with the help of God`s grace and through our sustained prayer and immersion in the Eucharist .Only then can the way be cleared for the Word to blossom and bear fruit.
Tadgh Tierney ocd