Today on the first of September we begin the Season of Creation which extends until the fourth of October, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology.
In both our two readings today we hear about the Good News of the Kingdom of God. In the Gospel, Jesus says it is what his whole purpose and mission are about. And in the first reading, St. Paul is describing this good news as “bearing fruit and growing” in the whole world. He makes me think of one of those parables that Jesus gave in Mark 4. In verses 26-28, he says, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit…”.
I had this same feeling just last Monday as I harvested three sacks of eggplants myself from the garden. I saw them from the time they were little seedlings on a seedbed. I saw them grow silently, but steadily. I applied only chicken manure on them and restrained myself from using any chemicals pesticides when they were infested. I just kept pruning away the infested shoots for their winged visitors to enjoy. Eventually, I saw how they bloomed and bore fruit, and how the branches bent at the weight of anywhere between ten to twenty fruits per plant. It was a wonderful sight.
It made me feel the abundance that nature can generate if only we can cooperate with its own dynamics and learn to dance to its tune. It is creation at work on its own.
The kingdom of God that Jesus spoke about was not an idea or a utopian dream about some ideal world that is yet to happen in some distant future. It is already here. It is a dynamic that is already at work among us, within us, around us. Creation is not something that happened once upon a time. And the kingdom is not something that will come about only at the end of time. They are one and the same thing, one and the same process and movement that we must learn to feel. The Lord invites us to see it unfolding right before our very eyes.
People did not just hear the good news of the kingdom as a message coming from Jesus’ proclamation. It was his very presence. It was what was happening as he encountered people, like Peter’s mother-in-law, the sick, and those oppressed by evil spirits. His mere passing, his looks, his touch, his voice, his smile, his feet, his garments brought about healing, lifted up their spirits, gave people hope.
I think Jesus woke up early before daybreak not only to pray. I think he also wanted to feel this movement of creation and be part of it. This is best expressed in the song that we sing at Morning Prayers every Wednesday, MORNING HAS BROKEN. It says, “Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden sprung in completeness where his feet pass.” I think he wanted to be part of the symphony around him, to “Praise with elation, praise every morning,” to experience “God’s recreation of a new day.”
One of my favorite canticles is that which we pray every Sunday morning. The Psalmist sings about all creatures dancing to the tune of the Creator; he calls on them to “praise and exalt God above all forever”. Yes, all the works of the Lord, even the mountains and hills, everything growing from the earth, springs and rivers, dolphins and water creatures, birds of the air, beasts wild and tame. Isn’t it wonderful to feel how they too bless the Lord, how they praise and exalt God’s name above all forever?
I was drenched with perspiration when I finished harvesting three sacks of eggplants. Just then I felt a cool breeze blowing. In my mind, it brought back to my memory a tune I had learned a long time ago in high school about the “Spirit of God in the Clear Running Waters”. In this season of creation, may we feel what the song is saying, “SPIRIT OF GOD, CREATION IS GROANING, FILL THE EARTH, BRING IT TO BIRTH AND BLOW WHERE YOU WILL…”
Homily of Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan on September 1, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Lk 4:38-44.
September 1 is also the opening of the Season of Creation.