Donato Kivi sm, presented the following homily [abbreviated here] at an ecumenical and inter-faith celebration at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Suva, 17th September:
We are here because environmental protection is a concern for all of us – we are concerned about the well-being of our environment because it touches our very being as humans living on this planet we call home. Our environment covers many areas like food security, health security, energy security, economic security, social security, cultural security and so forth. This all comes down to our human security.
The first couple, Adam and Eve who Jews, Muslims and Christians believe as their first parents, from the very beginning of their existence individually had that inner harmony and peace. They were in harmony with God, they were in harmony with each other as couples and they were in harmony with all of creation. In the Christian tradition this is called the original justice. The love of God and humankind, the love of man and the woman and their love that extends to all creation. Pope Francis speaks about this in his Laudato Si' as the trinitarian key which should leads us to ecological conversion.
For our first parents, this trinitarian key is a dimension of love and divine intimacy which was alive and active in their very being. They could see God alive in all of creation. Because the beauty and the marvel they saw in creation flows out of the love of God as gifts to them. They were home because they were in love and were surrounded by love and beauty.
St. Bonaventure a disciple of St. Francis of Assisi said – "you exist more truly where you love than where you merely live". So home should not simply the place to sleep, eat or to be physically sustained, but to be home one is to experience freedom in love. Where one loves there one is free and at home.
Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecology was at home in his environment because he saw the love of God speaking to him in all creation. The conversion of St. Francis happened when he encountered the person of the crucified Christ who spoke to him to build his house. To build a broken world, in our context to build a broken People. He was able to do that by looking through the eyes of Christ.
Fr. Richard Rohr a Franciscan spiritual writer said "across the thirty thousand varieties of Christianity, believers love Jesus and accept his full humanity and his full divinity. Many express a personal relationship with him… But how might the notion of Christ change the whole equation? Is Christ simply Jesus's last name? … What if Christ is a name for the transcendent "within" of every "thing" in the universe? … What if Christ is a name for the immense spaciousness of all true love? What if Christ refers to an infinite horizon that pulls us from within and pulls us forward too? What if Christ is another name for everything – in its fullness?"
In different religions there is an expression or name of the divine being which is the creator. In Hinduism every element, object and living being in the universe is created by the same supreme being. In Islam, the universe together with its richness and vitality is the work and art of God, that is of the creator. This is similar to the Judeo- Christian perspective that the universe is God's creation. For Christians is Christ present in all of this creative work but non-Christians might call him different names. If it is in Christ that the world existed in the beginning, how does it change our perspective in our relationship with the environment around us?"
I believe it should move us from just a personal relationship with God towards a relationship that goes beyond boundaries, beyond our comfort zone. It is a cosmic calling as Christ is cosmic.
We are not only called for our personal salvation, but for the salvation of all, going from personal, to family, to village, to government to all of creation. We are called to be leaders and to advocate love, peace and justice. Our goal is to enter into that loving relationship which the first couple experienced in the garden of Eden. To be in harmony with ourselves, in harmony with God, in harmony with our neighbours and harmony with all of creation. This is restorative justice because we return to "original justice."