Homily – November 18, 2018

I think we’re all familiar of cartoons showing a bearded man carrying a sign telling us ‘The end is near’. The message being, shape up.’ Another version is ‘Jesus is coming, look busy.’

Today’s readings are called apocalyptic readings. They are meant to be unsettling, their message is, ‘get your act together.’ They’ve been described as follows.

The apocalyptic writer first recounts, under the guise of future prediction, a selected series of historical events up to the moment of writing, then indicates future historical events rather vaguely, using other words describing what’s going on now. He finally foretells cosmic events of the end time when all will be dissolved and there will a complete transformation of all creation. St. Paul tells us, ‘The eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has it entered into human mind the things that God has prepared for those who love him.’

These predictions speak to every historical generation, including our own. After all, the end times happen to us all, not only to each of us in facing our own death, but to all of us together as a generation that will pass into the mist of disappearing ages.

Today’s prophets of doom are members of our scientific communities. They do not speak in symbolic languages like the prophets of old. They speak in un controvertible facts. Like a voice crying in the wilderness of our mindless consumerism they are telling us we are in trouble. Our misuse of Earth’s resources over these past two or three centuries has brought us to a tipping point. Extractive industries, coal mining, the extraction of oil, gold, silver and other minerals and our consumption of these resources as part and parcel of modern living are the major contributor to climate change.

Modern science has an apocalyptic message for the human family. We’re heading for a whole new and diminished world. The message to governments and big business and all of us is, ’you better change your ways of thinking and living, you better change the ways you see your relationship with the earth on which your destiny and survival depends.’ The message of scientists around the world is that we have upset the harmony needed to live on Earth. You’ve heard me say many times, ‘The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to Earth and what we do to 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 ourselves.

Our modern prophets, the world – wide scientific community is calling us to take seriously the reality of climate change. Those who deny and dismiss the reality of climate change are on the wrong side of history. Governments around the world have to be more faithful to and supportive of the Paris Climate Accord and work to reach the goals to which they committed. Thursday Toronto Star claims that Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions per person are more than any other country in the G20. This report claims that none of the G20 has a plan in place to meet the goals set by Paris Agreement.

Yet we have power hungry and uniformed politicians denying the reality of climate change and cancelling environmental controls programs that were made with the world community for the well- being of all nations. Politicians tell us these controls and restrictions are bad for business, they will take away jobs. God help us all.

Things are staring us in the face. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruption, hurricanes, droughts, the poisoning of oceans and rivers and the poisoning of the soil that feeds us. Scientists are telling us that the toxicity of our land and air and oceans are a reality. We deny or ignore these global realities at our peril.

The world will not end tomorrow but the life systems of earth are changing faster than we thought and your great-grand- children and their great- grand- children will be struggling to survive on a totally different planet. Can we think that far ahead? Can we live simply so that future generations may simply live?