Homilette for Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis 1:1-19; Mark 5:53-56)

There is nothing new about global warming. In its billions of years the earth has warmed and cooled many times over. For this reason there are petroleum deposits made from a once vigorous vegetable life under the now frozen tundra of Alaska. What is new is the hand humans have played in the current warming trend. Most scientists are convinced that by burning fossil fuels humans are raising the earth’s temperature. They also tell us that the situation may be stabilized if humans throughout the world and especially in the United States reduce fossil fuel consumption in a decisive way.

The story of creation in Genesis today reiterates how God created everything good. After He makes light, Genesis says, “God saw how good the light was.” After He separates the land from the sea, Genesis repeats, “God saw how good it was.” And so also, after God created plants and trees and after He created the heavenly lights, He calls them good. In the next chapters Genesis will show how these elements turn against humans because of their sinfulness. God will use floods and draughts, earthquakes and hurricanes to punish humans for their folly, according to Genesis.

We might dismiss Genesis and say that it is childish to believe that earthquakes and storms are punishments from God. We might pretentiously say that God loves humans and does not punish them. Or we might take the vision Genesis offers to heart. This last alternative should move us to heed the call of scientists to curtail use of fossil fuel. If we do not do so, the link between our overconsumption and nature’s rebellion, as Genesis indicates, may become tragically apparent.