This reflection is based on Mark 4:35-41.

The gospel story about Jesus stilling the storm at sea takes on new significance with the recent release of Pope Francis’ much-awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. The Pope minces no words and spells it out for us. It is not easy to hear. Listen:

“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Francis braves the wind and rain at open air Mass in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippine.
Francis braves wind and rain at open-air Mass in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.

He doesn’t do it, but the Holy Father might as well have used a four-lettered word. That stung!

We have exploited the earth beyond acceptable limits, he tells us, and it is no time to lull ourselves in the illusion that we can continue doing so and all shall still be well (Pope Francis calls this idea of unlimited growth a lie). Nor can we simply expect the Lord to solve the problem for us: He can’t still a storm that we continue to stir.

In prose both beautiful and blunt, the Holy Father tells us: “Wake up and stop the storm!”

Typically, he draws our attention to those who are most vulnerable to the ongoing destruction of the environment: the poor who suffer today and the children who will live after our generation. The encyclical is an invitation to compassion: compassion for the victims of the deterioration of the enviornment, compassion even for the planet Earth, which Francis calls “our sister and mother.”

Many have welcomed the brave words of Pope Francis, and the collective call to action that his encyclical makes. But do we welcome the implications of his words on our personal lives? The sad truth is, we can’t still a storm we continue to stir. Against the temptation of passing the burden to governments and multinational companies, we need to ask ourselves the disturbing questions: What am I going to do about this problem? What changes in my lifestyle am I willing to make–especially in terms of what Pope Francis calls the “throwaway culture”–to do my share in taking care of our common home?

For all its dire warnings, the Pope’s encyclical offers us hope: “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

How will you make this new start?

If you want to read the encyclical, click HERE.

Watch a short and entertaining clip on how the world awaited this encyclical:


This statement from the short clip caught my attention. “If we destroy creation, creation will destroy us”. True indeed. Sometimes, what does not directly affect or harm us, we tend not to pay much attention to it. But, let this be a reminder for all of us that being part of God’s creation/mother earth, we are all responsible for one another. We cannot allow our selfishness to destroy the gifts God has bestowed to mankind. May we have the initiative to change with what we can in our own little ways, for the future of the next generation lies in our hands. “To change everything, we need everyone”.

Amidst this chaos that “we have stirred ourselves”, I find myself in the center of a personal chaos, as dark, as large, as encompassing as the chaos of our planet…..and I realized just now that I too have stirred this up myself….oh what to do dear Lord…!!! I have to find the calm that only Your presence can give…..I beg for the grace to believe….to trust….Oh Lord, help me in my disbelief.

What’s the sound of the wind that’s been stilled? When Christ commanded the wind to quiet down, did it lose its melody?
Carl Sandburg captured in poetry the blustery winds of Chicago: the whining, moaning, drumming, groaning winds; the strident panic driven shrieking winds; the thundering pompous I-told-you-so winds. All these cacophonic winds, he bundled together in a symphonic poem Jazz Fantasia. One concert. One song.
We can be wastrels, hoarders, treasure keepers, tree huggers–whatever we are, when God says be still, won’t we all come together to a tune? We sure will.

Thank you for awakening our awareness that is plaguing the world today! Maybe now that the initiative has come from Pope Francis we will all answer responsibly to do our share in saving our sister/ mother. I always read with keen interest what you share every week! Thank very much!

Fr Johnny we start with ourselves. At home we have made it a point to cut down
on our carbon footprint. My next agenda, to spread the consciousness to our 30,000+ members in Ahon sa Hirap where I am a work volunteer.

People are actually doing something. At UP the nabubulok trash of the university is now recycled to fertilizer,.

Let us pray harder for Pope Francis.


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