Do we see ourselves as entrusted with a sacred trust or do we see the earth as something to be exploited for our own good, for our use without care of future generations without care of how the Creator/Owner feels for the land we abuse?
Many questions! But at the core of them all, I believe, seems to be one of identity and relationship. Understanding our identity as the beloved of God -- God’s daughters and sons, ALL of US -- and understanding that from that identity flows all our relationships!
And it is this reality that then is to inform all of the actions in our lives...to live as the beloved of God!
But we find ourselves living in a vineyard filled with vitriol and division, a place where so many are out for themselves and what they can get out of life without any concern for how it hurts the other. Many businesses around the world overwork and underpay their employees forcing them to work in subhuman conditions for less money than it is humanly possible to live on.
As a Nation we proliferate the arms race and have too often threatened war rather than sit down to talk of peace and mutual cooperation. We reel from gun violence with one mass shooting after another in our country, and seem to make no headway in the fight against stricter gun laws to prevent such senseless acts of gun violence.
We claim that we value the dignity of all life and yet we imprison more people than any other developed nation, we own more guns per capita than any other nation and put more people to death and continue to deny basic healthcare to the most needy in our society while we round up productive, tax paying, undocumented women and men to send them back to countries where their chances of leading successful lives are far less than here.
The vineyard is not ours. It belongs to the Creator and we need to recognize that how we live on the earth and how we treat one another matters deeply to the One who made us and who made the vineyard!
During this Respect Life Month let us pray for an end to all forms of violence and disrespect of human life from conception to natural death. Let us pray for an end to systemic racism and bigotry, an end to misogyny and xenophobia and all actions that disrespect the dignity and sacredness of human life.
A prayer for the Synod in Rome: “For the Church, in a new phase in the synodal journey, that the presence of the Gospel, alive and at work in her, may make her like the vineyard in the parable, a vital place where all women and men who seek meaning in their life find a place, a word, and a breath of hope, we pray”; come Holy Spirit come, fill the hearts of all your people!