Respect Life Sunday 2019 does not focus on human life alone, it extends to protecting life of all living creatures of God’s creation. It provides us with the opportunity to recognize the connections between the many ethical issues we face nowadays.
Pope Francis notes in Laudato Si “On Care for Our Common Home” saying, there is an intrinsic connection between the way we treat the environment and the way we treat those who are most vulnerable at the beginning and end of life – the social, the natural and the environmental are closely intertwined. This means that each person has at least three main living relationships to work on.
If we look up, we have a supernatural relationship with God who is above us in all aspects. If we look around, we have a social relationship with other people who are equal with us in every aspect of human dignity. And if we look down to where we stand, we have a relationship with Mother Earth which provides us a safe place to live.
The New Zealand Catholic Bishop Conference’s pastoral letter last weekend also helps us understand this relationship with Mother Earth with a Maori saying;
Ka mate te whenua, ka mate te tangata. Ka ora te whenua, ka ora te tangata.
If the earth dies, the people die. If the earth lives, the people live.
Every form of life comes from God, and is intended by God, and thus no form of life is accidental. The Scriptures help us discover the Truth that only God has the eternal copyright of what to do with His creation.
Let us help each other to be grateful to God that we are graciously created to be the faithful stewards and guardians of God’s creation, and not to be squanderers of His resources. May this Respect Life Sunday start to shape our way of life to be as the guardian angels of God’s creation and of poorer communities who are suffering due to climate change.
Father Tien Cao Assistant Priest