Look at today’s Gospel. It was chosen with Augustine in
mind – and it suggests his deep love of creation by the
imagery it presents. How could Jesus have cared about the shepherds,
their sheep, their meadows and fields, not sense the power and
presence of their Creator, the ‘heavenly Father.’
And Augustine the homilist and ecstatic theologian who shepherded
his flock had to sense that too!
So let the life of Augustine and the scriptures that so filled
him with intelligent faith move you as well. Make decisions on
your environment. Don’t waste a thing. Clean up your act.
Enjoy the beauty!
The repercussions of not realizing the God within us shows itself
in our attitude to the planet we live in. If the Lord of creation
cannot be perceived in the experience of earth and its beauty,
than it is easy to see this earth as a material object that can
be possessed, abused, separated from the Devine and abandoned.
So it has happened. Humankind treats the earth as though we own
it! It is not God’s earth – and we are not really
stewards of it: we are its lord and master: we own it! And we
have been doing to it whatever we wanted with no sense of the
sacrilege that this way of life conveys.
See today’s Gospel. Jesus uses the metaphor of the Good
Shepherd, the gate that the sheep pass through and the pasture
where they spend their lives. His sensitivity to nature and to
its creatures is evident in the poetry of his examples. But he
contrasts the robbers with the true caretaker of the sheep. One
steals and does not care, the other does.
Thus we abuse the resources of the earth. Our need for oil to
push the economies of the West leads to war, death, devastation
and chaos. We have no sense of spiritual responsibility in the
midst of our ambitions and materialistic appetites. We use the
earth; we use others!
So on this feast I urge each of us to ponder the mystery of
creation. Rediscover the ancient roots of a living faith that
places God at the center of life as we live it, breathe it, sense
it, and appreciate it.
Plant and work your garden. Ride that bicycle into the distant
horizon – both for charity and for pleasure. Hike the trails
of hills and mountains. Breathe in the air of sea and shore. Fly
the kite with your kid. Sense the wonder of the divine in all
of it. Give thanks for the opportunity to serve – and conserve.
This is your nest – God’s nest – and you are
a sparrow finding your home friendly, loving and holy!
Happy Feast of St. Augustine.