February 19, 2019
When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,
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. (Genesis 6:5-6)
Over the next three days, the Church offers us the story of the great flood and the building of Noah’s ark. The following is a reflection from the Catholic Herald:
The familiar story of Noah, saved in the ark from a catastrophic deluge, is something more than a children’s story. It is, for sinful humanity, the description of a broken relationship with God. The early chapters of Genesis described humanity as created in the image and likeness of God, uniquely blessed with his friendship. The incursion of sin ate away at that friendship, until, by the time of Noah’s generation, the Lord God “saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth and that the thoughts of his heart fashioned nothing but wickedness all day long”.
This simple narrative is not, ultimately, a story of destruction and judgment. It describes the restored friendship that a loving God calls forth from the darkness of our sin. “See, I establish Covenant with you: no thing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. The waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh.”
Noah, living among a sinful people, believed that there could be a new beginning for his family and humanity. His story speaks to every succeeding generation that has felt itself overwhelmed by the rising flood of its own sin and faithlessness.
Let us acknowledge our sinfulness, with the psalmist: “Out of depths I cry to you O Lord, Lord hear my voice.”
Let us never forget that it was the catastrophe of man’s sinfulness that called forth the deliverance of Noah, that prompted a new covenant between God and humanity. We acknowledge our sinfulness, but it doesn’t end there. In the days ahead the Lord renews in us, as he did in Moses, an eternal covenant of love.