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You bet!


Earlier this month Pope Francis released a beautiful, but also thought-provoking encyclical drawing out the implications of Jesus’ answer to the question “Who is my neighbor”.

As a follow-up he responded to an invitation to present a “Ted Talk”. For those not familiar with Ted Talks, scientists, researchers, technologists, business leaders, artists, designers and other world experts take the TED stage to present “Ideas Worth Spreading”.They have one thing in common. Each one has done something world changing and is able to offer in clear presentation 15 minutes or less.

This was not his first invitation. In 2017 he presented “Why the only future worth building includes everyone,”. It has since been viewed by three and a half million people with transcripts in 32 languages.

His invitation to change the direction in which we are heading

This Ted Talk addresses our unsustainable system which at root is becoming more and contradictory to Jesus perspectives on who is our neighbor. In effect, it is his own summary of the 43,000 world encyclical just released.

He believes that the Covid crisis will eventually pass. But that there is another crisis of more profound and longer-lasting implications.

We are becoming aware of the very real threat to earth our common home and the threat of losing awareness that all are created equal. In other words the threat of not taking seriously that we are all sons and daughters, therefore sisters and brothers.

The choices we face.

And this requires us, all of us, to face a choice. The choice between what matters, and what doesn’t. The choice between continuing to ignore the suffering of the poorest and to abuse our common home, our planet, or engaging at every level to transform the way we act.

He states

“Our goal is clear: to build, within the next decade, a world where we can meet the needs of the present generations, including everyone, without compromising the possibilities of future generations.

The current system is unsustainable. We need to rethink many things:

  • the way we produce;
  • the way we consume;
  • our culture of waste;
  • our short-term vision;
  • the exploitation of the poor and our indifference towards them;
  • the growing inequalities and our dependence on harmful energy sources.

He invites us to a journey of transformation and of action. 

“I am calling it a journey because it requires a shift, a change.

We will have to take it one step at a time in order to

  • help the weak;
  • persuade those in doubt; 
  • imagine new solutions; 
  • and commit to carry them out.

He offers three suggestions

  • So, my first suggestion is to promote, at every level, an education geared towards the care of our common home, developing the understanding that environmental problems are linked to human needs.
  • As a second proposal, we must focus on water and nutrition. Access to safe and drinkable water is an essential and universal human right. 
  • The third suggestion is about energy transition: a gradual replacement, but without delay, of fossil fuels with clean energy sources.

It also implies a renewed politics, conceived as one of the highest forms of charity.

Each one of us can play a precious role if we all begin our journey today not tomorrow — today. Because the future is built today, and it is not built in isolation, but rather in community and in harmony.

No wonder his encyclical is over 43,000 words!

Thoughts about prayer and action.

  • Do I pray about these things?
  • How am I translating my prayerful journey into action?

Click below to listen to an audio version of the Vincentian Mindwalk