“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.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!”
Bro.Ken Homan, S.J., is a Jesuit brother currently studying and writing at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. In addition to his work as a student, Bro.Ken works in union organizing and environmental justice. In his spare time, he is a woodworker and master of puns.