Word to the Wise

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - Tuesday in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time

[Gen 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10 and Mark 8:14-21]
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. So the Lord said: "I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created, and not only the men, but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them." But Noah found favor with the Lord, [Genesis]

     The first scripture from the Book of Genesis today begins one of the most colorful accounts in the Bible:  the story of Noah and the Flood.  The imagination can do incredible things with this.   Rodgers and Hammerstein even wrote a musical on the story, TWO BY TWO!  Countless cartoons and serious religious art have attempted to depict the ark with Noah and the animals sticking their heads out the windows.  Humor includes the question, "Why didn't Noah just swat those two flies (or mosquitoes or cockroaches)?"   But the story of Noah is really about the capacity of humans to foul up what God has given them and how God's mercy ultimately provides a remedy  The authors of Genesis used a very ancient legend of a great flood that was circulating in the cultures around them, particularly in Babylon, to convey that truth.  
     It is important to note that God does not start completely over.  The idea of a faithful remnant is introduced here.  God takes that remnant and "recreates" the world.  It turns out to be the only time God does it this way, but the early Christian community could see a foretelling of God's rescue in the person of Jesus Christ.  Needless to say, many people have wished for another great "wipeout" because of the dangers we humans have created that can and do destroy what God has given to us to care for. We have created our own flood! But we have the capacity to remedy that through faith and action.  The human heart and mind and desires remain the mystery that stands in the way.  Our own faith in Christ is what helps us to keep our heads above the water, as it were!  AMEN

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