When I was in elementary school, I remember annual celebrations of Earth Day which included planting trees, repurposing tin cans into flower pots, and coloring pictures of a cartoon Earth with a big grin on its face. Today, those actions are still important, but our Earth is calling us to more.
Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22nd, and Sunday, April 23rd is Mercy Sunday. In the Gospel reading on Mercy Sunday, we hear Jesus greeting the disciples with “Peace be with you.” What relief the disciples must have felt after hearing Jesus’ greeting! What if we took the tenderness and mercy that Jesus showed to the disciples and let it permeate our lives, pushing us to say “Peace be with you, Earth.”
I have been greatly moved by the idea that the moral character of a nation can be judged by how it treats the poor, and yet we know that the poor are the most immediately impacted and harmed by climate change and lack of care for the Earth. We can see that how we treat the Earth directly impacts our care for the poor.
So whether you are passionate about providing for the poor, creating a safe environment for future generations, protecting wildlife and endangered species, or merely ensuring that we provide for our planet so that we can see another day of beauty and blooms in the life it provides for us, we can all rally around Earth Day and recommit ourselves to taking care of our one common home. How will you work to protect the Earth?
For some ideas of how to get involved in caring for the Earth, check out these resources from the Eco-Justice Committee:
- It isn’t too early to think about spring cleaning! Along with including free sunshine and fresh air, take a natural approach to cleaning rather than using the often harmful, sometimes polluting, and usually expensive cleaning products. The Eco-Justice Committee offers to you some planet-friendly, healthy alternatives compiled by Sister Imelda Schmidt, OP newly returned to ministry at Heartland Farm. We will share her wealth of wholesome hints throughout the seasons. Click here for April’s tips.
- Do you have plans for Earth Day? There are numerous events and rallies occurring across the country throughout the month of April. Click here for a listing of events and here for a listing of People’s Climate Movement events. If you’re participating in an event, feel free to take along one of our banners and send pictures! We have banners in Columbus, Kentucky, New Orleans, and Kansas.
- You can also participate in Earth Day through prayer. Our Eco-Justice Committee would like to offer this prayer. Click here to download the Earth Day Prayer; feel free to use excerpts or edit it to best fit your needs).