Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time


By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

If you have paid attention to the posters advertising Lenten activities this year at St. Basil’s, you will notice a particular theme: the environment. It reflects a major theme of Pope Francis during his pontificate and the ever-growing urgency for humanity to be better stewards of creation.

I must admit that as I prepare for this Lent, I am intimidated by this topic. Though I have great concern for the Earth, and believe passionately that our care for creation has a profound impact on our spiritual lives; I am often at a loss at the seemingly overwhelming magnanimity of the current reality. I find myself wondering how my own practices and attitudes can really “save the planet”?

However, there is a quote I frequently recite that challenges my own doubt: “We cannot transform ourselves, but we can create the space for transformation to occur.” Over the years, I have come to understand just how important environment is to the way we think, pray and live in community.

As a parish we have been investing in our environment – not only is a our church more beautiful, but thanks to LED lighting, we have a much smaller carbon footprint.

Our routines, the people around us, our sense of security – all have a profound impact on our own lifestyles, creativity and purpose.

It seems to me Lent is a wonderful time of year to show greater concern for our environment – not just how we care for the Earth; but also how we create our own space for transformation to occur. During this time of year, we begin to consider how our routines, friends and priorities care for our spiritual life?

Yet, we must do more than merely raise our awareness; we have to make changes – but I also know that such changes will not only come from my imagination. If we can create the right environment this Lenten Season, I believe the Holy Spirit will show us the way. Though it is a little scary, I look forward to what God will do in the spaces of our parish and homes.