Reflection for Thursday, August 26, 2021: 21st Week of Ordinary Time.

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Shea, John, S.J.
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|I recall a conversation I had with a religious who could not understand why we humans had any obligation to care for the Earth. After all, he argued, God gave us this world. As God's gift to us, we should be allowed to use Creation as we see fit. Unfortunately, this argument fails if you believe that God entrusted Creation to us. We are stewards of Creation, and our Gospel reading describes the faithful and prudent servant who distributes food at the proper time. In contrast, wicked servants beat their "fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards."|I know the link between carbon emissions from human activity and the increasing number of severe and extreme wildfires, floods, droughts. I reflect on how humanity is more like the wicked servant, misusing God's Creation and failing as good stewards. I foresee a future where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. But it doesn't have to be this way.|Our first reading gives me hope. Some describe this letter to the Thessalonians as the "friendship letter" because of its reassuring tone and numerous expressions of gratitude. Paul finds comfort amid his own pain and suffering from the faith of the Christians in Thessalonica. And so, he thanks God for their nourishing faith. He prays that he could be with them, assisting them in whatever they are lacking. He asks that God "may make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all." In short, Paul acts like a good friend, desiring the best for this community of faith.|To be a good steward, we need to renew our sense of friendship with God, with one another and with Creation. Do we see ourselves as good stewards of God's Creation with its entailed responsibilities? Or do we see ourselves as the entitled beneficiaries in some contractual agreement?|Do we see our brothers and sisters as friends who co-labor with us to be good stewards of God's Creation? Or do we see our brothers and sisters as competitors who get in the way of our own greedy desires?|Do we see Creation as inherently good and, like a friend, worthy of our love and protection? Or do we see Creation as something to be exploited for our own gain?|Jesus tells us to "stay awake" in today's reading. As the impact of global climate change worsens each year, we must awaken to a renewed sense of friendship with God, with one another and with Creation.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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