On September 1, the Church of the Risen Christ conducted a paraliturgy and reflection session, followed by a Eucharistic celebration to launch the Season of Creation in the parish.
Parish priest, Friar Esmond Chua, OFM. brought to light that we have allowed injustice and greed to drown out the virtues of justice and peace all in the name of progress and development. Yet, we still refer to ourselves as “Christians” living a double life: pious and humble in church, but selfish and wasteful when in the world. Our response to care for creation has to be one that is internalised.
He then invited us to reflect on the image of rivers. Just as rivers are persistent, such that nothing can stop a stream from flowing, we are to be persistent to let “justice” and “peace” flow. We give up easily even before trying to respond to the call to care for creation because just the thought of what needs to be done can be overwhelming — from having to bring our own utensils wherever we go or to speak out for environmental policy changes. We do not want to be inconvenienced and thus, as a result of our choices: global warming, polluted rivers and land.
He further pointed out to us how we may grow and be persistent like a river, that is to transform our perception, our hearts and our lifestyle. Transforming our perception needs us to see the bigger picture from the “Me, Myself and I” to “You and We”; from “obstacles” to “opportunities”; from “too much work” to “what more must be done”; and from “no one’s watching” to “even if no one’s watching.” This transformation will, then, lead us to see the need, importance and urgency to allow justice and peace to flow in our relationships, perceptions, and treatments towards one another and creation.
Transforming our hearts needs us to make time to listen with the ears of our heart, that is, to dialogue with the oppressed and the voiceless, both people and creation. We are to work together in this, just as the lakes and seas are a collection of rivers.
Friar Esmond requested those present to reflect on the individual commitments that they could make, using the following questions as a guide:
1. What are some of my perceptions about “Caring for Creation” that need to change?
2. What collaborative opportunities are there in my neighbourhood which I can participate in to care for creation?
3. How can I contribute to the care of creation with the unique gifts and talents that I have been entrusted with?
The Litany of Repentance was led by assistant priest, Friar Crispus Mosinoh, OFM. Then the people were invited to make a commitment on how to care for creation; by symbolically pouring water into a common pot, reminding us of how small each of our actions may be to care for creation but we can still make a difference when we come together as one.
The programme drew to a close with Mass and fellowship.
This event was put together in collaboration with Caritas Penang and the Creation Justice Commission of Penang Diocese.