Day 4: The Flood

Genesis 7:4 In seven days: The time period recalls the act of creation and suggests that the renewal of the earth by the waters of the Flood is a type of “re-creation” We, who now neither the time of our own death nor the hour of Christ’s Second Coming, are always called to REPENTANCE. (CCC 56, 335-339)

Ch 8:8-12 The story of Noah and the Flood prefigures what will fully be revealed in the New Testament. The Flood prefigures Baptism (cf 1 Pt 3:20-21) and the dove is a TYPE OF the Holy Spirit (cf Mt 3:16). The dove’s return with the branch signified that the waters were receding and dry land was reappearing-a sure sign of HOPE. The dove and the olive branch have long since been considered symbols of peace, which was ultimately obtained by Christ’s Redemption. (CCC 701)

THE ARK OF NOAH has long been understood to represent the Church, which withstands ALL adversity and saves those who enter her in faith. St. Augustine identified other figures in the story: the travels of the Ark on the waters represent the earthly pilgrimage of the People of God; the wood of the Ark that saved Noah’s family prefigures (TYPOLOGY!!) the wood of the Cross, which is the instrument of our salvation; and the door on the side of the Ark signifies the wound in the Side of Christ opened by the lance of a Roman centurion as he hung from the Cross (cf. St. Augustine, City of God, 15, 26). (CCC 845, 1094, 1219)

Ch 8:20 Noah’s first act after leaving the Ark was to offer prayers and sacrifices in thanksgiving to God. The Eucharistic celebration re-presents Christ’s perfect Sacrifice on the Cross and therefore, is the greatest act of adoration and thanksgiving (CCC 1407, 2095-2100, 2569)

Ch 9:1-16 The story of Noah is presented as a SECOND CREATION. God blessed Noah and his family and established a COVENANT with them, promising never to destroy the earth again by flood. He gave Noah and his family stewardship over the earth and all its creatures and told them to “be fruitful and populate the earth. The covenant with Noah extended to all the creatures of the earth and will remain in effect until the end of time. This covenant marked the beginning of God’s efforts to reconcile human beings with himself, beginning with Noah and his family. (CCC 56-58, 71, 2569)

FORTY IS A SYMBOLIC NUMBER IN SCRIPTURE. The forty days and forty nights of rainfall is symbolic of a period of PREPARATION, akin to the forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness before entering the Holy Land and the forty days and forty nights Christ fasted in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. We observe forty days of LENT in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Appropriately, the Flood is recalled in the Blessing of Baptismal Water during the Mass of Easter Vigil:

“O God, who by the outpouring of the flood

Foreshadowed regeneration,

So that from the mystery of one and the same element of water

Would come an end to vice and a beginning of virtue…”

(CCC 701, 1238)

Ch 9:4-6 Blood was associated with the source of life, and God gave Noah two commandments concerning bloodshed: he prohibited the consumption of animal blood, and he prohibited murder. The human population before the Flood had lost its appreciation for the sacredness of life. The death penalty that God imposed on muderers was not for vengeance but rather to deter the crime of murder, which is the ultimate violation of human dignity. (CCC 355-358, 2258, 2260-2261)

Psalm 1 This psalm serves as a kind of gateway to the rest. In its utter simplicity, it lays out the paths open to every human person: we can choose the way of goodness and life by seeking the Lord and living according to his will, or we can go the way of evil and suffer its grave and inevitable consequences...The Psalms as a whole reflect in song both the blessedness of walking the path of truth and the sad consequences of preferring the darkness of sin. Israel’s experience as verbalized in the Psalms parallels the joys and sufferings we face in our own lives due in large part to our own moral choices. Thus, we can identify with the people of ancient Israel as we struggle to love and serve God day by day. (CCC 2586-2589, 2596-2597, 2662)

He prospers...will perish: A common belief in the Old Testament was that the good would prosper and the evil would be punished, even in this life. Misfortune or illness was seen as a sure sign of sin, while large families and wealth were viewed as divine blessings. The fact that such is not always the case led to much bewilderment and many philosophical discussions throughout the Old Testament (e.g., JOB!!!!!) and even into the New Testament (e.g., the man born blind, Jn 9). The psalmist hinted at a shift in thinking: The just will prosper in “season,” and the wicked “will perish.” Righteous: those who live according to the Divine Law. These people are habitually faithful to God through contemplation and the implementation of his Commandments. (CCC 615, 623, 1042)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 4: The Flood (Genesis 6:1-9:17)

The flood brings the destruction of evil, but salvation for Noah and his family. The biblical symbolism of water bringing death and new life reappears in the crossing of the Red Sea and comes to its culmination in Baptism (see Rom 6:3-5; 1 Peter 3:20-21), by which we enter into Christ’s death and His risen life. The ark becomes a symbol of the Church.

  • A couple things change after the flood:

  1. Noah sacrifices burnt offerings and it pleases God so He will not destroy the earth again through a flood.

  2. God explicitly prohibits murder.

  • CCC 2260: The covenant between God and man is interwoven with reminders of God’s gift of human life and man’s murderous violence

  • In our heart of hearts, we are broken

  • The thoughts of humans can be full of willingness to do bad things

  • We need to bring those thoughts and desires under God’s rule

  • CCC 2416 and 2417: Animals are God’s creatures and He surrounds them with His providential care. By their mere existence, they bless Him and give Him Glory. Thus, men owe animals kindness

  • God entrusted the stewardship of these animals to those He created in His own image (Us). Hence, it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing, and for domestication etc

  • It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly or to spend frivolously on animals when humans can be helped

  • The important distinction is that animals can be killed and eaten, but innocent human lives cannot ever be taken. Why? Because our hearts are broken

  • Why are Ham and Canaan cursed? Ham saw his father’s nakedness. And Canaan is Ham's son. This is an idiomatic expression for sleeping with their father’s wife. In this context, this is an act of emasculating and humiliating their own father.

  • A Catholic Introduction to The Bible: Why is Canaan cursed and not Ham (Gen 9:25)? Perhaps because Noah's sons, including Ham, were already covered by a divine blessing (Gen 9:1) Other explanations are also possible

  • Ham is the father of Canaan who in turn is the enemy of the people of Israel

  • When we follow the lines of families in scripture, they are often broken in so many ways

  • The dignity we have as human beings made in God’s image in likeness only seems to accent the willingness we have to do evil

Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven we thank you so much for your Word and we thank you for revealing your love for us and your faithfulness to us, that your love is unstoppable and unconditional. And we give you praise for revealing how you have used even the destructive power of water to renew the face of the earth. Lord God, all of your gifts, all of creation can be used for good. They can be used for ill. They can bring forth life and they can bring forth death. But you are good. You are the giver of life and all life lies in your hand. All life lies in your power. And so we place our lives in your hands. We place our lives under your dominion and authority this day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."