What is the state of our relationships?
We continue to witness high breakup in marriage or no marriage at all, many people choosing to live together or to couple but live apart. Marriage is not on their horizon.
In the parish we have an ambivalent situation. Parish discussions held two years ago revealed parishes were scoring low on hospitality.
We believe things are a bit better now. We saw the addition to the parish of the Ministry Animation Teams (MATs) and these have been successful in addressing some of the deficiencies of parish life, particularly hospitality. In fact, what are parish churches but sacred spaces where we encounter the hospitality of Jesus.
Our relationship with the earth has not been a good one. As a nation we have depended far too heavily on oil and gas. This mantra has been sung for at least a generation.
We have witnessed oil spills along the western coastline with attendant destruction of wildlife and loss of income to fishermen and cottage industries connected with them.
Regarding economic sustainability, too little of the national revenue has gone into diversification of the economy. Both government and private sector have neglected their commitment to research, with our rich ecological sector which can add considerably to a sustainable economy being relatively untapped.
We need to invest more in local scholarship, ingenuity and entrepreneurship which can help build a more stable and diversified economy.
This very point on the health and potential of the earth emerged again two weeks ago as Pope Francis declared a “year of reflection” on Laudato Si’. The creation narratives point to our intrinsic connection to the earth for Adam was created from “the dust of the earth”. From the Bible’s perspective we are “earth beings”—the earth being “our common home”.
We know from our folk wisdom “out of evil cometh good.” COVID-19 has devastated many countries, communities, and families. A herd immunity will not be available until sometime next year.
During this time, nature has breathed more smoothly than it has for decades: rivers are clearer, teeming with life once again; smog is gone in many cities; mountain peaks can be seen; animals are out on the streets and roadways.
The human community too is not as busy; people are seeing their neighbours for the first time: rich and poor are interacting; hunger and pennilessness have drawn disparate groups together; the homeless are receiving haircuts, shaves and showers in greater numbers.
A deadly little virus has forced a deeper humanity out of all of us. We heard creation’s groaning to be set free (Rom 8) and we are responding, hopefully not only for a few months.
It has become normative on Trinity Sunday to talk not about God who is self-sufficient in His Oneness but who opens out to community in the Trinitarian Godhead and in creation. God exists in communion and created us for communion with Him and all that He has made.
May this Trinity Sunday find us looking at our wide network of relationships as we remember the words of St Therese of Lisieux: “God is not interested in perfection. He is interested in relationships.”