Closing Word: Gratitude and Hope

Gratitude to the Agricultural Leader

For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Our confidence in Jesus Christ as both the Redeemer of the World and the one “through whom all things were made” ultimately transforms our relationship to the earth and creation at large. The task of tilling the earth is intimately tied to our lives in Christ. The affirmation of the goodness of creation allows us to see the earth from a perspective different from that of mere use and efficiency. It is, rather, a gift to be shared in community with others and humility before God.

These insights shared here will require a new global solidarity, one in which everyone has a part to play and every action, no matter how small, can make a difference. Our solidarity with others has a two-fold dimension. The first is rooted in our dependence upon the one God, Father of us all. The second is rooted in our dependence upon the one earth, home for humanity. All of us share this dual heritage: created by God and fashioned from the earth. And so all of us are bound to care for the soil. In doing so, we care for each other. Whether we till the soil directly or live off the labor of those who do, each one reveals the earth from where we came. Created immortal by God and destined for eternity, the human person, nonetheless, is of the earth. To till it and to keep the earth is part of our promise to God and our solidarity with each other.

The complexity of these challenges will call forth humility and dialogue. Humbly listening to the message of God, our neighbors, and creation itself becomes the ultimate way through which these challenges will be met: dialogue with God in prayer and contemplation, dialogue with our neighbor in justice and solidarity, dialogue even with creation in humility, wonder and gratitude. It will demand our earnest prayers, prayers for vision, for courage, for hope, for steadfast service to one’s family, neighbors, and future generations.

The numerous examples of faithful stewardship in the Sacred Scriptures and the many lessons from our Lord himself that draw heavily upon farming provide ample material for further reflection and encouragement. Tradition and charity allow us to imagine, that while Jesus had Mary’s eyes, he had Joseph’s way of seeing the world. It is not impossible to imagine that it was through the daily labors he shared with Joseph and all those who worked on the land that Jesus came to see the truth and dignity of agricultural labor, for He himself says “that the kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.” (Mt 13:27) Agricultural leaders, and farmers in particular, take pride in your work as witnesses of the ways of the Lord.


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