John 3: 16-18
Sunday Reflection by Sister Katy Webster, SNDdeN
Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. It is the last Sunday in the time of Lent and Easter, which began on Ash Wednesday. Next week we return to Common Time in the liturgy. Jesus in his discourse to Nicodemus who wants to be baptized and follow the way of Jesus, is explaining the heart of the life marked by the Father/Mother, Son and Holy Spirit. “For God so loved the world that God gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only son.“ The heart of this story is that God loved and loves the world, everything and everyone in it. His Son did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. Who believes in the Son is not condemned, but who does not, is already condemned by his or her choice. It is a choice to believe or not to believe.
God loved the world. God loves the world, all of creation, all peoples. Jesus came to live among the people, among us to show the way to live this love. It is not a question of living to avoid condemnation, but to live in love and living in love, one loves. It is the dynamic of the Holy Trinity: to love, to live together, to journey together. This love gives me, gives us life, courage, strength and energy to follow the way, live the journey. This is what we celebrate today.
On this Sunday, June 7, we are celebrating the day that Sister Dorothy Stang was born in 1931. Sister Dorothy lived this love, life and journey in Anapu, Amazonia with the poor farmers struggling to be able to have a small parcel of land in peace where they could work in community and in harmony with nature. The ranchers were against this mission and wanted her out of the area. “We will never have peace until she is out of here.” They wanted it all for themselves, the land, the forest, the water, the minerals to add to their power and wealth no matter what the cost to the life of Amazonia. The way they found to take her out of the struggle, was to kill her. There was no other way to get her to give up the mission.
On May 24, 2020, we began a year of Laudato Si, the encyclical published by Pope Francis five years ago about the environment, the care of our Common Home: nature and the people. Pope Francis is calling us to take up this document again that challenges us to look at how we need to change the we live in order to defend all life: of nature and all peoples never forgetting that to defend nature is to defend poor people. You cannot do the one without doing the other as well. “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” This is our call.
Toward the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, COVID 19 exploded in the world, in the whole world. Hundreds of thousands of people have been made sick and are being made sick with the virus and thousands have died and are dying from the virus. The experience of this virus calls us to look at our world with compassion: Who got the virus? Who is being treated for the virus and how? What is the effect of this virus on our relationships as communities, as countries and regions? What is the effect on the economy, for whom? How? Is it the same way for everyone? Why? How is it different and what do the differences teach us and to what do they call us? Are there groups who are benefiting from the situation? Who? How? Why? How is this vírus a part of the integral ecology? How do we want to be since this pandemic?
There are strong indications that the Coronavirus came from the forests that have been cut down. There are scientists, medical people, and environmentalists who say that the forest is the habitat for many viruses. If we destroy the Forest the viruses similar to other living beings, will look for other habitats where they can survive. Many will find the human body a suitable habitat, as has already happened. Scientists say that the next pandemic will be start in Amazonia where the deforestation is increasing.
IMAZON, an institute that monitors and studies the Amazon published a report on May 19, 2020 stating that the deforestation in the Amazon Basin in the month of April, 2020 was 171% greater than in the same period in 2019. While we are all in our homes keeping social isolation, the forest is falling and among other death dealing effects a new pandemic is being prepared for the not distant future. This is a frightening reality. I for one feel urgency to act, but at the same time, feel very small and powerless. Yet I live with and am inspired by the presence of Dorothy’s life and witness and I deeply believe that Laudato Si calls and challenges me and all of us to actively care for our Common Home, our one and only home.
In this context we are called to reflect again on the Power of the Holy Trinity, three persons in one person, the source of love, liberty, courage, courage, daring and energy that is with us every day all day. We are called to let the Trinity touch and inspire us to love, live and journey together in this world. In this experience of quarantine, I have been in the house and yard since March 18 and will be here until the end of June and perhaps until August or September. I keep saying to myself my mission right now has two parts: 1. stay at home, and 2. meditate and pray. I have a new appreciation and understanding of the Ministry of Prayer. Besides the questions in one of the paragraphs above, I also reflect on how can I be ever more engaged in this journey after this time of quarantine? What do I need to do differently? How do I engage with others in a community reflection on these questions? How do I feel the power of the Divine, the Holy Trinity on this journey of love? Let us pray the words of the Trinity Prayer:
May the power of the Father/Mother govern and protect us, the wisdom of the Son teach and enlighten us, the love of the Holy Spirit renew and quicken us. May the blessing of the all holy Trinity, Father/Mother, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us now and forever. Amen
1. The New Jerusalem Bible
2. Laudato Si, §49
3. There are a number of articles that develop this Idea in various ways.
4. Prayer of Trinity Washington University
John 3: 16-18
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
The Word of the Lord…
Meet Sister Katy Webster, SNDdeN