Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Earth Day seeks to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to the protection of the environment. We face many environmental crises, including global warming, deforestation, endangered wildlife, shortages of potable water and widespread pollution, all which negatively affect our planet’s resources and can have adverse effects on our long-term lifestyle and health. In 1970, a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson was inspired to bring about mass public awareness of environment problems. He heavily promoted the day across the nation in an effort to gather the largest amount of public support possible and ultimately, in the hopes of elevating environmental protection onto the national political agenda. This day in 1970 marked the creation of United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by billions of people around the world and is observed in over 190 countries. Worldwide, Earth Day celebrations utilize educational programs to inform people of ways that can help protect the environment and its natural resources. It is observed annually on April 22nd and is celebrated as International Earth Day.
These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others. Nonetheless, impossible as it may seem, Jesus proposes a different way of doing things: the way of meekness. This is what we see him doing with his disciples. It is what we contemplate on his entrance to Jerusalem: “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey”. Christ says: “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary. But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that “perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults”. Paul speaks of meekness as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. He suggests that, if a wrongful action of one of our brothers or sisters troubles us, we should try to correct them, but “with a spirit of meekness”, since “you too could be tempted”. Even when we defend our faith and convictions, we are to do so “with meekness”. Our enemies too are to be treated “with meekness”. In the Church we have often erred by not embracing this demand of God’s word. Meekness is yet another expression of the interior poverty of those who put their trust in God alone. Indeed, in the Bible the same word – anawim – usually refers both to the poor and to the meek. Someone might object: “If I am that meek, they will think that I am an idiot, a fool or a weakling”. At times they may, but so be it. It is always better to be meek, for then our deepest desires will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, for they will see God’s promises accomplished in their lives. In every situation, the meek put their hope in the Lord, and those who hope for him shall possess the land… and enjoy the fullness of peace. For his part, the Lord trusts in them: “This is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word”.