I am afraid of betraying Jesus. I have denied Jesus many times, yet the possibility to change and grow is always open. Jesus still trusted the young Church in Peter’s hands and so he still trusts us. Each time I think I am the only one who can make a difference is a time of pride and rejection of God’s trust in humanity. Yet, God peeks into my life to remind me of the hope our faith provides and the responsibility to build God’s kingdom with each other.
“In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me.”
The psalm reminds us to embrace our relationship with God because She is our radical hope in each other. Reminded by our call to build a sustainable world, I wake up knowing I have not done enough to fight for climate justice.
Just a few weeks ago on dreary Sunday morning, I felt especially helpless. I was walking through endless rows of gas cars, one of which was my own, and sidestepping puddles glistening with oil in the massive parking lot at church. How could I keep going about my business as usual while the world burns and people are dying? The world will always have pressing problems, and we will only be able to overcome them when we put our trust in God by working with each other. At the end of Mass, to my surprise, there was a petition available to be signed to encourage the Maryland state legislature to enact climate policies, including updating greenhouse gas reduction goals and setting a faster timeline to transition from the six coal power plants in Maryland. Fellow parishioners had worked to set this up, and I was rejuvenated knowing that other people are putting their faith into action and offering me a chance to participate. I am not alone in this struggle and I found radical hope which filled me with God’s grace and purpose. I have to open my eyes and look around to see God working through others to build the Kingdom of God.
Lent is a time to grow from our repeated betrayals and exemplify our faith through actions. Just as Peter continued to fight for Jesus after his denials, we too can change. Because of God’s infinite and boundless love for us, we can use Lent as a concerted time to examine our relationship with God and find faith in Her work.
Two simple ways to incorporate our fight against climate catastrophe into our Lenten journeys and all year are through the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Lenten food waste fast and single-use plastic challenge. By joining these challenges, not only are we building sustainable habits but we are also growing closer to God because these practices remind us that we live in an interconnected world that we all have a responsibility to preserve.
Ben Campion is a senior at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. He is an active member in the Peace Club and helped organize Gonzaga’s participation in the September 20, 2019, Climate Strike.