Ordinary Time, 12th Sunday. In his new encyclical titled Laudato Si', Pope Francis speaks about ecology using a familiar two-part pattern. He condemns a culture of indifference (which he calls a throw-away culture). This leads us to be indifferent to the needs of others, especially the poor, and to the needs of our planet. He then invites us to a culture of encounter and dialogue where we are open to meeting God and being met by him through others and through creation. It's much more than just "an encyclical on climate change", it's an Encyclical about a change of heart.

The beginning of the encyclical reminds us of the storm from the Gospel. The Good News is that Jesus was in the boat with the Disciples. Pope Francis reminds us that God is present in and through His creation. The answer to the storm is the attitude of Jesus who looks for His Father all around him. We need to learn this same attitude of Jesus and grow in our encounter with God's Fatherhood. In order to be a good father you must be a good son.

We also face personal storms that, like Job, threaten the very core of our being. God reminds Job that He is the Lord. As Job lets God be the Lord he finds peace. Accepting the Fatherhood of God brings peace and calm to our lives, our families, and even our planet.

(21 June 2015)

Point to Ponder: How do I personally participate in the throw-away culture?

Point to Discuss: Speak to a friend about the answer above and brainstorm some ways to participate less.

Go Deeper: I strongly encourage you to read the encyclical yourself. It has much to say to our present culture. Use the encyclical as a chance to encounter God by a prayerful reading. You won't understand everything the Pope is saying; that's OK. Perhaps you can underline things you find particularly true and circle things that are speaking to you personally. Then pray about those things and speak to your Father about them. The encyclical is quite long (191 pages) so get an overview first; here's a great summary to get you oriented.