Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 22 March
Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children.
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Today’s readings refer to the establishment of the basic principles of how God wishes us to live well and wisely. Moses leads the people of Israel to the promised land, and then in the Gospel, Jesus affirms the commandments (Matthew 5:17-19).
We often consider the ten commandments as a guide to how we should live as individuals, but Moses and Jesus were setting the foundations for whole communities, so they also speak of how as societies we should interact.
Indigenous peoples in Laudato Si'
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis refers to the plight of indigenous peoples around the world whose homelands are being damaged by developments in global industry and agriculture, and by extension by our consumer choices. As their lands are affected, so are they. “For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values” (#146).
Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, a Yanomami indigenous leader in Brazil and CAFOD partner, reflects on the impact of illegal mining on his people in the Amazon over many years. He says, “40,000 illegal miners entered Yanomami land in the 1980s. The illegal miners destroyed the water streams, the river. They brought in diseases. They left [mercury] in Yanomami land. And you cannot get rid of the diseases. After, we managed to have the Yanomami land officially recognised [in 1992]. But illegal miners continue to invade the land that has been recognised as ours.”
CAFOD's support for indigenous peoples in Brazil
The Amazon rainforest is often called “the lungs of the earth” for its importance in regulating carbon dioxide levels. However, extensive deforestation for timber, agriculture and mining over several decades has led to a significant reduction in the size of the forest. People living there are noticing changes. In 2016, CAFOD gave emergency help to Yanomami people affected by droughts and fires.
Davi joined CAFOD supporters for the Climate March in London in September 2014. Many people decided to use their free time to take part in the march. Davi reflects on this example of collective human endeavour: “a lot of people rose up, like a big rain to stop the fire. It was very good. I liked it. A lot of people were shouting to lift the soul of our earth, the river, the sun, the moon and the stars, and to lift us.”
Spirit of God, inspire us to speak from our hearts and proclaim your goodness to the ends of the earth. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
After taking part in the climate march, Davi says he will tell what he has seen to the children in the Yanomami villages. Why not set aside five minutes today to listen to Davi and Mauricio, another CAFOD partner from the Amazon, talking about how they see climate change affecting their people? Watch the video below and share it with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook. You could also download the Laudato Si' study guide to use in your parish or by yourself.
This reflection was written by Tania Dalton from CAFOD’s Latin America team.