Saturday evening, April 21, after the 5 PM Mass, the Parish of St. Mary’s in Colts Neck, NJ, dedicated an array of solar panels that will cut their use of energy in the parish complex by 90%. It’s the first parish in the Trenton Diocese to do it, and one hopes an incentive to others. Congratulations to Fr. Tom Triggs and his lively environmental committee.
I offered these thoughts at two Sunday Masses the next morning:
“Bread from heaven.” How frequently Jesus uses earthly things to speak of the things of heaven. “I am the vine,” “I am the light,” “I am living water.” He calls himself the “son” of the “Father.”
Jesus takes things we know: birds of the air, flowers of the field, seed scattered in the earth, to point to things unknown. The created world reveals secrets of a world beyond here.
Shouldn’t we reverence creation then? If we follow Jesus we will. Yet, as we watch our natural world being plundered, its air and waters polluted, its environment sacrificed for human convenience and pleasure, we know our attitude toward our natural world must change. Human-centered and human-concerned, we lack respect for the non- human.
In the Book of Genesis, human beings are said to be made in the image of God and are given an important relationship to the rest of creation. We’re caretakers of creation; we don’t own it; we care for it for awhile. We have a responsibility for it; it has rights of its own, and we have to use all our ingenuity in its care.
Our understanding of God and Jesus Christ, his Son, also suffers from lack of respect for creation. Taking bread, taking wine, Jesus gave thanks; they’re creation’s ambassadors, instruments of a divine exchange. They enlarge our relationship to God by reminding us that God’s plan includes creation as well as our human family and it embraces even the simplest creative things.
Placing bread and wine on precious plates and in precious cups, we carry them to the altar in church and they bring Jesus to us. Can we begin to learn a greater respect for creation here?