The Season of Advent and COP24
Editor: Both the Season of Advent and COP24, the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, will commence in hope and expectation this week, on 2nd and 3rd December respectively. Synchronicity.
The importance of COP 24 for the world cannot be overstated. In recent weeks we have heard from the IPCC of the need for ‘urgent and unprecedented change’’ and that we have only 12 years to act to reach the 1.5 C target for global warming; from the Vatican that the planet is ‘on the brink of an unprecedented global challenge regarding the sustainability of our common home’ and from the World Wildlife Fund that about 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been wiped out by human activity since 1970. ‘The cry of Earth and the cry of the Poor.’ And still there is hope.
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) has called COP24 ‘Paris 2.0’ because ‘we will put together the pieces, directions and guidelines in order to make the framework really operate’. More of that Vision can be found on the COP 24 site. Our prayer for that Vision to heard and implemented can be found here
The Gospel reading for the first Sunday in Advent (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36), confronts us with a dramatic picture of global devastation with the heavens and earth in chaos. The striking imagery of a distressed and disordered universe cannot help but call to mind the unbridled effects of unchecked climate change and the importance of the UN conference commencing next Monday.
Veronica Lawson rsm, in her Gospel reflection makes this suggestion:
'Our prayer and practical action this Advent might embrace the plight of the earth itself and the concerns of those who yearn for liberation from various forms of oppression. We might remember those seeking asylum among us and those who have been granted refugee status yet still await the justice of resettlement. Our Advent could make a difference to their Christmas.'
The central message of this scripture text, beginning as it does the new liturgical year, calls us to consider not only how to prepare for Advent and Christ's coming, but how we might live until the time when we 'stand before the Son of Man'. (Luke 36)
May the prayer and practical actions we each undertake this Advent flow into our living into the future.