Third Sunday of Lent.
Often when disaster strikes particular regions around the world, we find ourselves feeling powerless. At times there may be a tendency from some quarters amongst us to inadvertently 'blame the victims', or to ask the question 'why would a loving God allow this?'
Those of us who live on the land in the food producing areas of our country, know only too well the importance of reliable water sources. It is clear that our climate is changing, and the effects of this change are being felt across the globe.
The readings today invite us to ponder the sublime mystery that God is present with us in all the events of life as we reshape into God's own image the gift of creation freely bestowed on us.
The Project Compassion story this week has a familiar ring to it. Two weeks ago, we heard the story of Thandolwayo from a dry dusty community in Zimbabwe and the struggle to access a reliable source of clean water. Today we focus on Peter from the Solomon Islands where, surrounded by water, it is proving increasingly difficult to obtain potable drinking water for the local community. Groundwater sources at Peter’s school have dried up and rainfall is unreliable. However, this community along with Caritas partners have worked together to build a reliable water system. Everyone gave 100%. Staff and students at the school dug trenches, carried equipment and helped to develop a water management plan while Caritas partners provided a water tank, pump, technical advice and staff for the project.
We are made in the image and likeness of God, with inherent dignity and grace. Our shared humanity demands that we work to ensure that all of us are provided with the basic needs for life. Pope Francis writes "Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. (Laudato Si #30)"
As we celebrate the Eucharist today, we are reminded of St Augustine's words to the members of his community that the "Christ on the altar" was identical to the "Christ of the marketplace" and that one could not encounter the body of Christ at the Eucharist without also caring for the body of Christ living without food, water, shelter and clothing. One must lead to the other. The first-hand experience of the people in our Project Compassion stories during this Lent provide us with an ongoing opportunity to recognise the body of Christ in those experiencing poverty.
How do we take our place in the community of believers and play our part in restoring all creation to the image and likeness of God?
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