2005—Third Sunday in Ordinary Time —A
Once upon a time the colours of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favourite.
Green said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."
Blue interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."
Yellow chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."
Orange started next to blow her trumpet: "I am the colour of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."
Red could stand it no longer he shouted out: "I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the colour of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the colour of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."
Purple rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the colour of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey."
Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: "Think of me. I am the colour of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."
And so the colours went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarrelling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colours crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.
In the midst of the clamour, rain began to speak: "You foolish colours, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."
Doing as they were told, the colours united and joined hands.
This week we celebrate Christian Unity. Everyday at mass we pray for peace in our own hearts, we pray for peace in the world, we pray for those in need and we pray for those who have died.
How often do we pray for the grace to accept others who we see as different to ourselves? How often do we pray for grace to understand others from their perspective? How often have we written off someone because of their skin colour, country of origin, sexual orientation or their type of work?
The view that 'our' Church is better than any other is alive and well. Will we learn from past history?
How often do we hear our world leaders justify war and conclude their justification with the phrase, "and may God bless us all." Yet again poor old God gets dragged into the world's inability to love and accept one another.
St Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises says that when we truly believe that God created us out of love we can then move to the realization that God made every human being our love. No one human being is better than the other-in the site of God. It is we humans who compare and contrast.
All Christian denominations and all Faith traditions will only come together when we can to the table of love and humility. We need to pray for the grace that diversity is beautiful. That in diversity we see ourselves being fully alive rather than being afraid. We need to pray for the grace of appreciation.
To finish the story, the rain continued: "From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of colour as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow." And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us all remember to appreciate, accept, love and learn from one another.