Ecology is the study of the whole. And not many people thought much about ecology 50 years ago, and part of the reason is that space travel hadn’t yet given us a glimpse of the whole world. It was the first time we saw actual pictures of our fragile planet – one among many, hurtling through space. Thanks to NASA and a Kodak camera we know what it means to be global: we know that wrecking one part of the earth ultimately wrecks the whole.
Our Lord’s teaching about the vine and the branches shows just how important our interconnectedness is. Our Lord compares our lives in him to branches that are intimately tied to and dependent on something much greater than ourselves for our source of life. We are free to separate ourselves from him, but we won’t survive for long. Without the sap and the life of the whole plant to nourish us we will shrivel up and die.
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. Historically, uniting workers made it possible for the dignity of working people to be recognised and appreciated. In banding together, workers relied on their unity to speak out about the rights of each individual to a safe and decent working environment and a living wage.
And this is what Our Lord talks about in being connected to the vine. Our Lord asks us to live on in my love, and he challenges us to be one as the Father and I are one.
Working together for the whole, realizing how interconnected we are and knowing how each of our decisions will affect the members of our community, our friends and our families, is an ecological insight we cannot do without.
May St. Joseph inspire and encourage us in all our good works.