Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Accounting for Human Life

February 17, 2011
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life…God added: "This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:5,12-13

And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Messiah." Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. Mark 8:29-31

“The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tear.” (Unknown)

“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.” It was a line in a popular song sung by country artist Lynn Anderson and covered by many artists.

Today, we hear in our first reading that God promised Noah a rainbow, not a rose garden, as the sign of the new covenant. However, God did not promise that there would never be any rain. You can’t have a rainbow without the storm. Nor did God promise that everything would come easy. Each of us is called to account to the Lord for human life.

Jesus leaves out the part about the rainbow in today’s Gospel. He is the living rainbow of hope sent to save us. Now that he has been with the disciples for a while, he quizzes them about his identity. Who do you say that I am? Once they know Jesus, he can begin to prepare them for the coming storm. Like us, Peter prefers to focus on the rainbow, not the clouds.

We never know how we will deal with the storm clouds on the horizon or how long it will take to overcome the obstacles strewn in our path.

Even though we are six years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region and the flood waters from the levee breach destroyed entire sections of the city, many people are still trying to rebuild. Some people still have trailers in their front yards, dumpsters in the driveway for construction debris, and volunteer crews working on their houses.

The St. Bernard Project ( continues to work with Americorps, United Way and churches from around the country to coordinate volunteer labor. This year, they are hoping to raise $35,000 during Mardi Gras to continue the rebuilding process and bring a rainbow back into the lives of people who still can not get into their homes.

Yesterday, I met two homeowners where our group (I am at a conference in the Crescent City this week) worked on these rehab projects. Led by able young adults – Laura from California and Nathan from North Carolina – they taught crews of about 14 people at each site what needed to be done in an afternoon of work.

Take a look at the site above and consider how you can help people restore the rainbow in their lives.