Homily – February 18, 2018

Scholars are divided as to when or if there was such a flood as described in our first reading. Was the flood a universal reality of a local flood of such dimensions that its memory was passed on through oral traditions and found its way into the Hebrew Scriptures?

In the Hebrew Scriptures there are two important covenants; the Noah covenant and God’s covenant with Abraham and Abraham’s descendants. The covenant with Noah was between God was with Noah’s descendants and with every living creature that shares the earth with the human family. The sign of the agreement that earth would never again be destroyed by a flood was the rainbow we often see after a rain storm.

That doesn’t mean the earth can’t be destroyed by other means, such as nuclear war of by the destruction of the life systems that sustain life of earth – wind, soil and water.

Because of the political blustering between the U.S. and North Korea those responsible for the Doomsday Clock moved the minute has within three seconds of midnight. Governments around the world have finally accepted the reality of climate change and it impact, not just of humans but all life forms on earth and all life systems on earth, especially the oceans.

This has been a recording breaking year for wildfires, hurricanes, and tornados, floods and mudslides.

You’ve heard me say many times; ‘Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth and what we do to the earth we do to ourselves… we did not weave the web of life, we are a strand in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves.’ It’s another way of saying, ‘what goes around comes around.’

In Pope Francis’ letter on the environment titled ‘On Care for Our Common Home’ he tells us something we’ve forgotten or ignored for a long, long time. The Holy Father writes; ‘When we speak of the environment what we really mean is the relationship existing between nature and the society that lives in it. Nature cannot be that of as something separate from us. We are immersed in nature.’ As St. Francis would say, ‘we are kin, we are family with all the life systems on earth.’

The Holy Father tells us something we really don’t want to hear; the pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planets capacity that our contemporary lifestyle is unsustainable as it can only precipitate catastrophes such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world.

I’ve quoted this before, ‘Planet earth is not a collection of objects, it is a community of life in its variety of forms.

We belong to this family of live but we humans have because autistic members of the family, we are in a state of disconnect, we’ve lost of sense of belonging. The human family has made great advancements in the past couple of hundred years but we’ve lost our sense of belonging to the family life that sustains the earth. We’ve come to imagine that we are at the summit of all things, they are for our use. We’ve forgotten that in the scheme of things we humans are a point in the circle of that sustains all life.

As many of you know our parish church was designed to connect our worship, our faith with nature. Our garden reminds of this and the colors of the sun that comes down our walls at certain times of the day do the same.

Our praise and worship or God calls us love and care for all of creation. Our praise and worship of God calls us to a sense of wonder and awe of the world we live in. Our praise and worship of God calls us to live lightly on Earth, to share its resources with all others, to work toward Earth’s healing, to live simply that others may simply live.

Lent calls us to fast from consumerism, to give alms by sharing our abundance with those who have less and through our prayer and reflections come to a sense of awe and wonder of the blessings of creation that surround us.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass we pray for the grace to live in the covenant of the rainbow and do what we can for the healing of Earth and thank God for the gift of God’s good creation.