Last week, when asked to reflect on the goals of Laudatus Si, did it seem daunting or impractical? Possibly the idea of integral ecology was too unfamiliar? Yet, this Sunday’s readings, once again, remind us that these goals are roadmaps to help us follow Christ, and as Christians, this has been our purpose since baptism. On this Sunday after the feast-day of The Exaltation of the Cross, we hear Paul emphasizing the distinction between following laws and following Christ. I think the latter is decidedly harder. How often do we act poorly towards others without breaking any laws? We’ve just had the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Many who participated in the systemic oppression of indigenous people throughout Canada’s history were usually not breaking laws. However, although they might have called themselves Christians, they were not following Christ. The New Testament does not promote anarchy or lawlessness, but its many books, letters, and stories reiterate one central truth: God is love and our purpose on earth is to love each other as we are loved by God.Yes, we were made to love. However, don’t we find ourselves following laws of fashion, wealth, social success, power, or popularity more easily than a “law” of love? In Mark’s gospel the invitation to take up our cross and follow Christ may seem like a call to suffering. But Christ’s death transformed the cross into a victory of Love. It is our call to carry Love to the world, despite its unpopularity or economic unfeasibility.
Laudatus means praise. Praise springs from joy. Hence our roadmap is not onerous, but it steers us away from the mainstream laws of self-importance. It takes us to the passion of connection to others.
Our community lives in praise and love! Last week so many responded to project Smile, ready to spread joy to our sisters in Ukraine. Through our prayers and actions we know the warmth that
comes with caring for others. Paul asserts that Christ lives in him because he knows that he (Paul) is loved regardless of his failings. This is powerful faith—not adherence to laws, but faith that we are loved first, no matter what. No matter what, we are valued and cherished. Let that conviction give us compassion for our own shortcomings so that forgiving ourselves we can be drawn to kindness and understanding of others. Drawing on Laudato Si, as we carry forward Project Smile, we will also introduce new initiatives for us, as a community, to reach out to the KW community around us.
Breathe in love, exhale joy!