Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila reminded the faithful to be “responsible stewards of creation” as the Philippines joins the launch of the annual global observance of the “Season of Creation” on September 1.
“When we do not recognize the gifts that we have received, we fail to be responsible stewards,” said the prelate during Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
The cardinal said that when people fail to be responsible stewards of the environment and “start acting as they are our possessions, we will never share them with others as gifts.”
“We may even use the gifts to take advantage of others,” he said in his homily.
“With the inspiration of Saint Francis of Assisi, let us embark on the season of creation with gratitude for the gifts we have received and a firm resolve to share and be responsible stewards of God’s gifts,” said the cardinal.
Cardinal Advincula said the act of sharing the “gifts” of creation is “the missionary dimension” of the observance of the “Season of Creation.”
“Jesus teaches us that gifts must not be monopolized only by the few. Gifts must flow. Gifts must be shared. Gifts must benefit all,” he said.
The “Season of Creation” is a liturgical memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, that will run from September 1 to October 4.
In the Philippines, the Church has extended its “Season of Creation” by a week to October 10, Indigenous Peoples Sunday.
The start of the season also coincides with the observance of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” that was earlier declared by Pope Francis.
“Let us join Pope Francis in his prayer intention for this month of September that we all make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle,” said Cardinal Advincula.
“And with the inspiration of St. Francis of Assisi, let us embark on this ‘Season of Creation’ with gratitude for the gifts we received and with the firm resolve to share and be responsible stewards of God’s gifts,” he added.
Cardinal Advincula earlier urged the Filipino faithful to raise awareness about “our collective duty as stewards of creation.”
He expressed hope that through the annual celebration of the “Season of Creation,” Filipinos will respond to Pope Francis’ call “for everyone to have an ecological conversion.”
In a pastoral message released on August 23, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines asked the faithful to support calls for the establishment of meaningful statutes to protect the earth.
“Our common home is on the brink of catastrophe. Urgent actions are needed,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, the conference’s president.
“We hope that this Season of Creation would lead us to renew our commitment to action to ensure that all creation will have a safe and healthy home to flourish and participate in renewing the Oikos of God,” he added.