The first reading today describes the magnificent creation of the earth. God has created light, land, the sky, the sun, and plants and vegetation. This work was strenuous, even for God – God chose to rest after six days of creating everything. What a beautiful, awe-filled place God created. What happened to it?
Humans have been around for thousands of years and have used and neglected the earth, the precious gift that God placed under our jurisdiction. Humans have abused the dome in the sky, degraded and exploited the land, and poisoned and comodified the vegetation. Is the Lord still taking pride in the works of creation? By using the earth as a resource to profit from rather than to provide subsistence, humans are actively and knowingly degrading and dis-gracing God’s creations for monetary gains or out of laziness. If the Psalmist were to have been writing today, it would be impossible for him to ignore the realities of pollution, environmental degradation, and specie extinction when describing the springs, mountains, and birds.
This is not to say that God’s formation of earth, minerals, and plants – all life – was in vein or is no longer sacred. Rather, it is so holy, that we as Christians have an obligation to protect, preserve, and promote the God’s creation. While one may adopt pessimism at a survey of the trash-filled, pollution-filled, and exploitation-filled earth, Christians have an example of encouragement. Jesus, in numerous instances in the Gospels, including today’s, heals the sick that cannot be healed and dismisses personal demons that were apparently permanent. By looking to the human Jesus – the one who walked on the same ground that we now live – we can see a model for inspiration for proper caring and humble stewardship of our earth. For many in Jesus’ time blindness and leprosy were incurable just as some may say today that the polluted earth is uncleanable. However, with the hope and exemplary spirit and passion of Jesus as our guide in this pollution-filled earth, we can help restore the awe.