Day 11: The Law and the Park Ranger

BY KEN HOMAN, S.J. | February 24, 2018
Today’s Readings

“Blessed are those who follow the law of the Lord!”

I have spent two separate summers working for the National Park Service and the US Forest Service.

“Blessed are those who follow the law of the park ranger!”

Few things infuriated me more than people damaging these beautiful places. At Wind Cave National Park, people touching cave walls could degrade a millennia of geological work. At Newberry Volcano, tourists regularly absconded with its famous glass obsidian. Anger would burn within me, and I wanted to scream about the preciousness of these important lands and the need to protect wildlife. These tourists were my enemies, the enemies of God’s creation.

Redmond Caves in the Newberry Caldera. [Greg Shine, Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via Flickr]

As someone with a deep love for creation, I can easily pit myself against the world, imagining myself as an oppositional force to pronounce justice. This stance, however, does very little good for building the Kingdom of God.

Moreover, the Gospel is the Good News, not the I’m-going-to-scold-you-earth-destroyers news. Rather than be a grandiose voice of impending environmental doom, I am better off taking the opportunity to be a subtle matchmaker, helping others to fall in love with God’s creation.

As noted in both the first reading and Psalm, that love comes with covenantal rules. These laws are not to limit us, but they are for greater freedom and love. God’s law is one of justice, mercy, and kindness.

Lent presents the opportunity to break forth from injustice and sin. It is an opportunity to step from darkness into the morning, from unfreedom into the flowing waters of God’s love that bring life and growth. Let us break forth from the darkness and announce “Now is the day of the Kingdom!”

1 reply
  1. Eileen Novotny
    Eileen Novotny says:

    One of the big political selling points of the past election and it continues is the “let’s get rid of all regulations!” pitch. No regulations on guns, no regulations on how we use the environment –every thing is the wide open wild west. Thank you for this thoughtful reflection on viewing the laws that are just and wise in helping us care for ALL creation in a loving way, being young people in our schools or not touching when we need to keep our hands to ourselves.


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