We enter this week under the cloud of Hurricane Matthew wreaking havoc and chaos. We remain mindful of the many that are and will be affected by Hurricane Matthew as it continues along its path. We remember the people along the southeastern coast of the US. We remember, especially, the people of Haiti, who have suffered extensive loss of life and property. As one resident in Haiti said, “Everyone is a victim here.”
Laudato Si’ reminded us that while climate change is a global phenomenon, it is the poor who will bear the brunt of it. Those living in poverty with little or no options will be the worst affected.
Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. (Laudato Si’, 25)
This week we are invited to express our solidarity with those living with mental health issues, those who are homeless, and the girl child, who even today lives with gender based inequality in many parts of the world. We are called to be mindful of those living amongst us who scream silently, enduring unspoken angst and hardship. This week we highlight the need to continually address the challenges faced by girls, to promote their empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
At the heart of this week we join the Jewish community to celebrate one of their most sacred days, Yom Kippur. It is a day of atonement, a day set aside to repent and make amends. It is a day that reminds us all of our need for reconciliation, with each other and with God. It is a day that invites us to stretch out our hand in forgiveness to those who require it of us. It is a day that reassures us of the forgiveness that God offers each and every one of us, every time. As the Sufi poet Rumi says:
Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving,
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.
READ: Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All (Oct 10 – World Mental health day)