Pastor’s Corner for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Rev. William (Billy) Davies

Today we celebrate Creation Sunday. The season of creation runs each year from 1st September to 4th November, and throughout this season, we celebrate and give thanks for the wonder and gift of God’s creation.

When thinking about God’s creation it is common to focus only on the beauty that surrounds us and glorifies our earth – the magnificence of the ocean, the majesty of our mountains, the peace and vastness of our open plains and savannah, and the animals, birds and plants that gives so much pleasure and opportunity. The two prayers at the end of our Pope’s encyclical letter, Laudato Si, remind us that creation is not only these examples of the beauty of our earth but also the whole universe and the smallest of creatures. These two prayers also remind us that in this creation that we celebrate and give thanks for are the poor, the abandoned and the forgotten of our world.

In Pope Francis’ prayer, there is a plea that we all must heed and reflect on, especially in this season of joy. He prays: “Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.”

This season of creation must remind us that in this modern world, we live in a season of destruction, a time when so much is used for the profit and gain of a few – air and water are polluted, forests and natural resources are stripped and turned into advantages for a few. But our natural resources are also taken for granted by most of us. In our country and city we increasingly have water shortages or no water at all, and while tap water in our cities is safe to drink, raw water sources, such as streams, rivers and dams, increasingly have high levels of E.coli, coliform bacteria, posing serious health risks to local communities.

Taking our resources for granted is something we can all increase our attention to in our homes, and water is the resource that scares me the most. For three days this week, we had no water at home. Nothing! When we turned on the taps there was nothing. The task of having to go and fill buckets and containers from a friend’s borehole reminded me that many of our people need to do this daily as they don’t have a tap to run dry!

It reminded me of a few years back on a business trip to Cape Town I, for the first time, experienced the Cape’s severe water shortage crisis. When I checked into the accommodation I was booked in, I was given a plastic bucket and instructed to use it in my two-minute shower and that the water collected from my shower was to be used to fill the toilet cistern for flushing. When I returned home, I was suddenly very aware of the quantity of water we were consuming wasting! We did an exercise and measured every drop we used and realised how much water we wasted in simple daily actions like running the shower until the water was hot, brushing our teeth, and rinsing the dishes. The list goes on. Big changes were made, and one of the largest of these was the rapid reduction in the water bill.

As we celebrate Creation Sunday, let us closely examine our own lives and homes for the actions we need to take to collaborate with God in the protection, not destruction, of His gift of creation to us all. Let us pray for those who suffer most from the consequences of the season of destruction.