Today we begin the third week of our Great Lenten Journey, first having remembered venerating (even if virtually from our computer screens) the Holy Cross yesterday. With the memory of the struggle of the cross that waits our entire Christian life, today the Church reminds us of the hope that God has promised.
The reading from Genesis today, (you can read the passage below) opens with the words of God’s promise and the hope of a better tomorrow. I believe we need to be reminded of this hope this year during our Great Lenten Journey amidst the Coronavirus (COVID19) restrictions on our way of life. Despite the truth that humanity is infected with evil, and in this case, I am referring to sin instead of a virus, God will never again destroy all life. He won’t even curse the ground.
If you are anything like me, you are growing weary of the precautions put in place for our safety. You may wonder if the virus will become as bad as other historic plagues that have ravaged human history. When this new virus resolves itself, and it will, I pray you will remember my words today. God knows we are afraid. He knows we tend to panic. He knows we want to be in Church, but most importantly, He is watching out for us.
Of course, that doesn’t mean He is playing some puppet game with us. He isn’t pulling the strings, but He is watching. After every tragedy, God brings light for those who desire it. He brought Noah and his family from the Ark and blessed them with a new start. He will bring us out of this struggle with a blessing and a new start.
This week I want to focus on the new start that is coming for us after our Great Lenten Journey, and hopefully sooner, this Coronavirus situation. It is likely our American way of life will be forever altered after the virus is defeated. This is bound to be one of those “watershed moments” of history, after which we will reflect on why we were so preoccupied with material comforts. Noah lost all creation. We are only going to lose some comfort. God granted Noah a fresh start. Will we take advantage of the fresh start that God will offer to us? It is something to hope for.
And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it." – Genesis 8.21-9.7