Happy Earth Day!! Millions of people around the United States today are participating in activities designed to “galvanize the environmental movement.” This year, Earth Day falls on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 22nd. As thousands of environmentally conscious people gather on the National Mall in Washington D.C., millions of Catholics gather for Sunday liturgy which has been environmentally conscious long before Earth Day came to be.
Today we will be energized with the water of life in the sprinkling rite. We will profess our faith in the God who created heaven and earth. We will proclaim in song that heaven and earth are “full of God’s glory.” We will bless and eat bread, “fruit of the earth.” We will bless and drink wine, “fruit of the vine.”
The liturgy not only uses elements of our good earth, it teaches us how to be good stewards of the earth’s gifts. Water is blessed, bread and wine are incensed, oil is sanctified, altars made of material from the earth are dedicated and consecrated. These rituals tell us that God’s presence permeates the environment, that all of creation reveals the divine, that not the smallest component of our planet is to be taken for granted, and that all is holy and is to be treated as sacred. Made more aware of the holiness of creation, we are sent forth with the renewable energy needed for a sustainable earth. If we take our liturgy seriously, we celebrate Earth Day not only on April 22nd, but, every day of the year. Amen!!