“Love your neighbour as yourself.”
Monday, 7 September 2020
We are our brother and sister’s keeper. Jesus, in Mark’s Gospel, reminds us that love of God and love of neighbour are inseparable. In his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that authentic human development includes bringing about integral improvement in the quality of human life and must consider the setting in which people live (#147).
We cannot separate care for the environment from the care of human beings, our neighbours. The call to ecological conversion is also a call to conversion in our human relationships. The lack of ecological harmony results in a lack of human harmony just as the lack of human harmony results in a lack of ecological harmony.
The principle of the ‘common good’ is rooted in genuine respect for every human person. However, it is also a principle that points to the overall welfare of society and the development of people. The common good impels us to social peace, stability and security. We achieve this when we have a concern for the way that the goods of the earth are distributed among peoples.
Our Christian faith, in this time of ecological concern, invites us to look at our production and consumption attitudes. We need to show particular sensitivity to those who suffer because of the exploitation of natural resources. Our right relationship with the earth demands too that we are in a right relationship with one another. Care of the environment and care of one’s neighbour are inseparable.
The notion of the common good also extends to future generations. Good stewards of creation cannot exclude those who come after us. We are reminded in Laudato Si’ that sustainable development cannot be achieved apart from intergenerational solidarity (#159).
In this Season of Creation, let us consider how each of us takes responsibility for being a good steward of creation. But, our stewardship must also include the care of our neighbour. The good steward of creation is also acutely aware of the impact their consumption has on their brothers and sisters.
Consider today how your consumption patterns, especially excess consumption, can have a negative impact on your neighbour.