This year, the theme of the Season of Creation – which will begin on September 1st and end on October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the first anniversary of the premiere of the film ‘The Letter’ – is ‘Let justice and peace flow’, words that, as Francis points out in his message, are inspired by those of the prophet Amos: Prophet Amos cries out: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24) and so we are called to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity.
As the people of God, we must work together on behalf of all Creation, as part of that mighty river of peace and justice.
The symbol for 2023 is a Mighty River - Prophet Isaiah proclaims: “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43: 19) Biodiversity is being lost at a rate not seen since the last mass extinction. The futures of young people are threatened by the cascading impacts of the loss of biodiversity and a changing climate.
The urgency grows and we must make visible peace with Earth and on Earth, at the same time that justice calls us to repentance and a change of attitude and actions. As we join the river of justice and peace with others then hope is created instead of despair.
“Our unbridled burning of fossil fuels and destruction of forests are raising temperatures and causing great droughts,” says the Pope
“May our common home overflow with life once again.” This is the wish expressed by Pope Francis in his message for the Day of Creation 2023.
Pope Francis updates the biblical image of the river to the 21st century, calling attention to the physical rivers that we mistreat so much today, proving to be a stark image of the ecological crisis.
“God wants justice to reign,” the Pope stresses, which “is essential for our proper life as children created in the image of God, no less than water is essential for our physical survival.” Therefore, “justice and peace can flow, like an inexhaustible stream of pure water, nourishing humanity and all creatures.” However, “the effects of this war can be seen in so many rivers that are drying up,” in large part, because “our rapacious consumerism, fueled by selfish hearts, is disrupting the planet’s water cycle.”
In this way, Pope Francis denounces that it is precisely “our unbridled burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests that are raising temperatures and provoking great droughts”, while “the terrible shortage of water increasingly besets our homes, from small rural communities to large metropolises.”
For this reason, Francis calls on “all people of good will” to bring about a “transformation of our hearts, our lifestyles and the public policies that govern our societies.”
In line with his teaching so far, this latest message from Pope Francis doesn’t beat around the bush about the dramatic urgency of the climate emergency, just as he doesn’t beat around the bush about the powerful interests driving the destruction. He does so, moreover, while most other world leaders, particularly the most powerful, remain lukewarm and subservient to corporate interests, thus underpinning his moral leadership model.
This year, to celebrate the Season of Creation, we are invited to participate in three very simple ways:
All information will be available on the www.SeasonOfCreation.org website