Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9Today’s readings refer to the establishment of the basic principles of how God wishes us to live well and wisely. Moses leads the people of Israel to the promised land, and then in the Gospel, Jesus affirms the commandments (Matthew 5:17-19).
We often consider the ten commandments as a guide to how we should live as individuals, but Moses and Jesus were setting the foundations for whole communities, so they also speak of how as societies we should interact.
Indigenous peoples in Laudato Si'In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis refers to the plight of indigenous peoples around the world whose homelands are being damaged by developments in global industry and agriculture, and by extension by our consumer choices. As their lands are affected, so are they. “For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values” (#146).
Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, a Yanomami indigenous leader in Brazil and CAFOD partner, reflects on the impact of illegal mining on his people in the Amazon over many years. He says, “40,000 illegal miners entered Yanomami land in the 1980s. The illegal miners destroyed the water streams, the river. They brought in diseases. They left [mercury] in Yanomami land. And you cannot get rid of the diseases. After, we managed to have the Yanomami land officially recognised [in 1992]. But illegal miners continue to invade the land that has been recognised as ours.”