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Noah and the Divine Do-Over


”Without a beginning I am pouring the whole of my existence into the building of endings, while the cross and the resurrection declare that God is incessantly building beginnings from the collapse of endings.” ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough

Although most are familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark, proclaimed in part in today’s 1st Reading (Genesis 6:5-8, 7:1-5, 10), it’s worth revisiting the sentiment and subsequent words of God leading up to the culmination of this legendary allegorical tale.

“When the Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,” Scripture tells us, “and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.” What’s particularly distressing about these words is that we know that ours is a very patient God (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 1:16, Joel 2:13, Psalm 103:8, Exodus 34:6, etc). For our forbearing and understanding Creator to have uttered these words speaks volumes; What must God be thinking and saying these days given the current state of worldly affairs?

In a recent reflection I speculated that the words of Job, uttered at the nadir of his lamentation (Job 7:1-4, 6-7) were amongst some of the saddest in scripture I think today’s passage might be in that conversation as well.

But along comes Noah, a man who Scripture tells us was righteous, one whom our Lord found to be truly just. Noah’s Ark foreshadows the complete redemption that would soon enter the world in the form of Jesus, making this passage the perfect segue into the Lenten Season which begins tomorrow

“The Church is like Noah's ark that was full of both clean and unclean animals,” explains the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. “It must have had an unholy smell, and yet it was carrying eight persons to salvation. The world today is tearing up the photographs of a good society, a good family, a happy, individual personal life. But the Church is keeping the negatives. And when the moment comes when the world wants a reprint, we will have them."

Just as God sought a new beginning, a “do-over” if you will in the form of the righteous Noah, Lent offers us that very same opportunity. As Archbishop Sheen reminds us, we know the path; it’s been traveled before by those who came before us possessing the courage to pursue it faithfully. We too can be “done over,” we too can be transformed. Fact is, we must.

For a baptized child of God who places their trust in the Father’s mercy and willingness to forgive, the beginning of this transformation is always today. Or to quote author J.R. RIM, “The chance to do it all over again is called now.

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“....Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

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