Easter Is For Creation
Jane D’Souza & Leann D’Souza (Team DBGA)
This Easter season, let us contemplate the meaning of Christ’s resurrection with respect to ecology. After His resurrection, Christ commissioned his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all of creation” What is this good news? It is the fact that Christ conquered death and opened the gates of Heaven to all of humankind and that one day, we will all share in Christ’s glory. But why must we preach it to creation as well? Does it mean that a flower that dies on earth will find its place in Heaven in its glorified form?
Creation was made for human beings who were the peak of all of God’s work. In the creation story, found in the book of Genesis, it says that after each day, God declared his work to be “good”. This means that God had a purpose and a plan for everything that he created. As Pope Francis says in his encyclical, Laudato Si - Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection. Every creature has a place in the plan of God - from the tiny ant to the mighty gorilla to the huge whales of the ocean.
We often quote scripture in talking about the plans God has for human beings, as seen in Jeremiah 29:11. But God has plans for all of creation. This can be seen in the simple story of the donkey that Jesus chose to sit on for his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which we celebrate today as Palm Sunday. This donkey was prophesied about in Zechariah 9:9 - Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The donkey had a purpose. The very being of the donkey – its human-friendly demeanour, its ability to carry heavy loads, its functionality of being able to walk through bumpy hilly terrains – all of this was used by Jesus for His greater glory. If this is the case for the donkey, then it is very well the case for all of creation. From the very land which we walk on, the soil, the trees, the plants, the animals, the oceans, the fish, the worms, the skies, the birds, the insects – every being created by the Creator has a place in His salvation plan.
As St. Paul says in Romans 8:22 - We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now. Creation has a life of its own. Even though creation was given to human beings to have dominion over it, it was not meant for tyrannical abuse and exploitation of resources, as can be seen in the world today. Creation groans with cries reaching to the heavens – with wildfires, flash floods, melting glaciers, biodiversity loss, extinction of species and terrible climate change.
As Pope Francis says in Laudato Si - The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.
Thus, Easter is for creation. Creation rejoices in the exultant victory of Christ over death, decay and doom. Christ rose from the grave for all. We live on this planet as if we are here forever. Destroying wild spaces to create concrete jungles, without a space for thought for the next generation that will suffer because of our decisions. This Easter, let us become conscious about our actions. What are we doing to our environment? What are we doing with creation? Why must creation suffer because of our selfishness? We must realise that we need to be transformed into responsible stewards of creation and live with an environmentally sensitive outlook towards life and the world that we live in. This Easter and the coming Easters, let us rejoice with creation, being grateful to God for His ultimate victory obtained for all things that exist and as we live sustainable lives aware of the accountability which we owe to the Creator for our stewardship over His creation.