Even house-dogs

Like prisoners and those living with disabilities the birds of the air are not represented in parliament. Their habitat is diminished – and they have no redress - when we thoughtlessly light fires the bush burns and acrid smoke is everywhere. I thought I detected a feverish protest from the fleeing birds, while on a walk close to where I live, as the fire spread reaching the edge of my path.

We are told (in the Guardian Weekly July 21) the present worldwide ‘biological annihilation’ represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation. … Billions of animals have been lost as their habitats have become smaller each passing year.” Almost 50% of land mammals have lost 80% of their range in the last century. And the scientists quoted in the article conclude: “All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life.”

In the Consolation of Israel – the last books under the title of ‘Isaiah’ – the prophet calls us to “maintain justice and do what is right.” If this is to be more than a well-worn mantra we will have to take note of our responsibility for our environment. There may be no habitat for the birds today. Tomorrow there will be none for us. Pope Francis, in Laudato Si, and quoting Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, says “the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation” (#9).

A pure scientist might baulk at such a statement but not if he or she is also a mystic. As our planet hurtles towards its destiny the scientist become feverish – but so does the mystic. We have to become convinced of the interrelatedness of everything. Science and technology cannot persuade the human heart (#113) if that heart, either from carelessness or perverse selfishness, is set on ignoring the mounting evidence of the damage we are doing to our planet, our common and only home. More is needed and that ‘more’ can only arise from a chastened heart – one which is prepared to measure its demands on the planet against the needs of the planet itself to breath and survive

The good news – in the encircling gloom – is “there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty first century will be remembered for bravely shouldering its responsibilities” (#165) and that it will gradually “generate processes” (#178) that will save us from the follies we are pursuing which, if not curbed, will lead us headlong over the abyss.

There was once a brave Canaanite woman who broke through the accepted norms of her time – and even got Jesus to alter his “strategic plan”. Things had gone seriously wrong and she wanted a solution. She found one.

20 August 2017                                  Sunday 20 A

Isaiah 56:1,6-7                                   Romans 11:13…32                            Matthew 15:21-28

Post published in: Faith

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