Thursday, August 20, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 21 Sunday, OT, Aug. 23, 2015 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Joshua calls the people to choose, and they do:
it makes sense to them
to turn away from the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land they dwell,
those Amorites with power and control and sinful ways,
and to follow the God who has walked with them
on the way to freedom.
Jesus calls his followers to choose, too,
but many of the disciples find his teaching offensive.
They don't want to eat his “flesh and blood.”
That is, they can't accept the whole person,
the whole teaching.
They don't believe that his words, his way,
can lead them to spirit and life.
This is a hard thing, they say.
We would have to change our ways.
The news these days is full of comments
from people who still find Jesus' message hard.
They're ranting about Pope Francis' Laudato Si'
and its hard truths for our American way of life.
Scientists have been warning us for more than 30 years,
but we have kept on destroying the earth
that is our common home.
We are using up more than our fair share of the world's resources,
and we're doing it in ways
that have brought the earth and its inhabitants
to the brink of a crisis.
As Fr. Jim Bacik put it last Tuesday in his lecture on the encyclical,
the bottom line is
that we here in the USA
need a conversion of heart,
a cultural revolution.
We need a reality check.
We need to change our ways.
The very next day at Claver House
I heard that we need dish towels and dish cloths
so we don't have do laundry more than once a week.
I thought of Jim Bacik's talk.
At home that afternoon I opened my kitchen drawer
and asked myself whether I really need
21 years worth of calendar dishtowels,
that annual Christmas gift from my Grandma who died in 1983.
Sharing the extra stuff we have with people who need it
is just the beginning.
Then there was the interview on PBS radio this week
about an easy way to stay trim:
stop eating when you aren't hungry any more
and only eat when you are hungry.
That makes sense—very traditional advice.
What followed that, though, was a comment
that encouraged waste.
They said: Don't eat it. Don't clean your plate. Throw it away.
Neither the interviewer nor the person being interviewed
considered not putting too much on the plate to begin with.
Billions of people are going hungry
and we're destroying the earth to grow food
that we throw away.
Or there's air conditioning.
In Laudato Si' Francis mentions it just once.
He says:
“People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity
but it has not succeeded
in changing their harmful habits of consumption
which, rather than decreasing,
appear to be growing all the more.
A simple example
is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning.”
The conservative-leaning Forbes Magazine
calls that “a perceptive paragraph,”
but the climate deniers are having a field day with it,
calling the Pope “out of touch” and “off the rails.”
I've found that I don't need to turn on the A/C in my house.
I don't have breathing problems or heart problems,
and it rarely goes over 80 here at night,
and the trees around my place cool it off quite a bit,
so that's an easy one for me.
So is recycling and composting
and growing some of my own food
and buying clothes at the Salvation Army,
and turning off the lights when I leave a room,
and planting trees.
Not so easy is the gas furnace.
Or the car.
I try to organize my trips better.
I try to do those little things that save gas,
like turning the car off when I'm waiting for a train
and not using drive-throughs at all any more.
But I could do a lot better.
Like all of us, I have to.
Is it hard?
Is it going to cost time or money?
Yes, it is.
But we have to do it.
As Pope Francis points out,
it's a moral question and a moral imperative:
we must change our “harmful habits of consumption”
for the common good.
How do we start?
For each of us the answer will be different,
but the principles are clear.
First, not so much:
not so much waste, not so much hoarding,
not so much buying, not so much more.
Then, sharing our bounty with those who have less.
Then, mindfulness:
looking for ways
that we can change our habits
to ones of
simplicity in our own lives
and generosity towards others.
Bottom line:
instead of what’s in it for us,
we have to ask what's in it of God
and for our neighbors
and for our planet.
We are called to turn away
from the gods of the people who control the land we dwell in—
those who put profit above people
and sacrifice the future of our species
for their own comfort and gain.
We are called to follow
the God who is with us,
in us,
and among us.
Let's each of us answer that call, as best we can.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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