Almenaza: 'Tis the season...of creation!

Bes Chat with Bp G

EVEN before September came rolling in, Filipinos have been joking about how close we are to the happiest time of the year when carols would dominate radios and colorful lanterns would light up our homes. On social media, "memes" of the iconic singer Jose Mari Chan abound, and he is often peeking from the screen, ready to sing our favorite Christmas tunes. Indeed the Philippines holds the longest celebration of Christmas each year with its commencement marked by the first day of the "ber" months.

But before we celebrate the coming of our Savior on that first Christmas night in a humble manger in Bethlehem, this month we are called to first sing praises for God's work at the beginning of time itself, when God formed the cosmos and brought into being all wondrous forms of life. In September each year, about 2.2 billion believers from around the world join together in prayer and action for the Season of Creation. From September 1 to October 11 this year, we do the same, even amidst extremely unique circumstances.

Indeed, it would not be surprising if, during this time, anyone were to be overcome by grief and despair and if, for that person, celebration of any sort would be the last thing on his or her mind. We are in the middle of an economic and public health crisis, and what can possibly be described as the period of greatest loss and sorrow in the modern day.

The Covid-19 pandemic, however, reminds us how urgent it is that we reassess our relationship with Creation and how humanity has fared in the stewardship of it. Over the past months, many discoveries have been made linking the exploitation of natural resources and disruption of ecosystems to the emergence of new diseases, including this coronavirus. The consequences as we see them today are dire -- vulnerability of the marginalized to disease and death, loss of livelihoods, heightened poverty, hunger, repression, and many other forms of injustice abound.

As economies strive to recover from the recession that this pandemic brought, however, there is no shortage of what can be done for the environment. Solutions arise left and right which could not only address economic woes, but also pave the path for a more resilient, sustainable, and ecologically just future. The development of green jobs, advancement of renewable energy technologies, and improvement of the transport sector, as examples, are economic solutions that also adhere to the care of our Common Home.

It is because of these that the celebration of the Season of Creation has never been timelier. For us in the Diocese of San Carlos, we really did welcome it with open arms with the establishment of Lunhaw, the diocesan Ecology Desk, in August. Lunhaw, meaning "green," is founded on the concept of rebirth and regeneration -- and truly the community of believers in our beloved diocese have found a renewed commitment to serve as stewards of Creation. Guided by the seven goals of Laudato Si', the Care for Creation team is excited to be in solidarity with all this Season of Creation.

Dearest readers, we are in truly difficult times, yet amidst it, we find much reason to still be hopeful and strive for a better future. I enjoin you to take part in the many activities being held for the Season of Creation, whether offline or online. The 25th of December is still far, but as early as now we can uphold the spirit of giving -- by giving our time and talents for the care of our Lord's creation.


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