When I read the story of Noah's cruise (today's first reading), I like to think that if I had lived in those days I would have been one of those holy folks who made it onto the ark. However, there have been times when I've caused my own floods by turning away from God's guidance while he was trying to lead me to the safety of an ark.
We all have our self-inflicted floods. We drown in pride or fear. We turn away from the ark that God is offering by using problem-solving methods that are not of God. We make choices based on how we feel instead of paying attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying in our spirit. We try to build easy lives in smooth valleys and assume that this home will never be deluged by too much rainfall.
God never ceases trying to guide us. He reaches out to us in scriptures, in our prayer time, in the homilies we hear, in the words of his people around us, and so on. But when we choose to do things in contrary ways, we create the clouds that rain on our nice valleys, and if we keep adding to the storm, it overwhelms us with a flood of problems.
Then we try to survive the storm by swimming, but we grow weary and start to sink in the stink of the ever-deepening waters of evil. We cry out for help, but if we only want to protect our precious plot of land in the valley, we're not interested in the ark that would float us away from what has been familiar and comfortable and "ours" -- and then we get angry at God as if it's his fault that we're drowning!
Whether it's by our own fault or by external circumstances that we cannot control, Jesus says to us through today's Gospel reading: "Do you still not understand?" He is the ark that the Father has provided. He is the Lord who will bless us with peace, whose voice calls out to us over the vast waters, as it says in the responsorial Psalm.
As we gulp for air, scared that the flood is overwhelming us, he asks: "Don't you remember what I have done for you in the past?"
How has he rescued you before? He will do it again! What miracles did he use to meet your needs? He will do it again! How did he turn suffering and hardships into blessings? He will do it again!
Jesus is the ark that saves us. When we turn to him, regretting that we have not allowed him to lead us away from our comfort zone in the valley, sorry that we did not follow his example nor accept his advice -- ZAP! Our remorse immediately plops us safely into the ark. We might still have a storm to ride out, but now we are safe. We are protected by his love and merciful forgiveness.
In today's demoralizing world, environmental damage, wars and terrorist attacks, rampant immorality, anti-Christian agendas -- and in your own personal crises: More than ever, keep your eyes on Jesus!
From a reader named Bobby: "Too often Catholic pencil pushers use their hierarchy of intelligence, throwing out four syllable words, forcing the reader to open a dictionary, promoting self and not Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Other astute writers will quote from everything they have read and springboard into a verse or two from the Bible. What I like about GNM, you present the truth in a simple and non-compromising format that anyone can understand. Jesus taught on the level of the people who were listening."