“I will establish my covenant with you” (Gn 9:11).
After the Flood, God established a covenant with Noah and his descendants. Humanity had brought on the destruction caused by the flood with sin and depravity. Perversion was so rampant that everything had to be destroyed. Purification was needed. Although all humanity was corrupt, God found one man who was different: Noah. He “was a good man, an upright man among his contemporaries, and he walked with God” (Gn 6:9).
“To walk with God” means to have a relationship with him, to recognize him as the creator, as the origin of everything. Humanity was not walking with God. Human beings had forgotten God, falling into perversions. However, Noah viewed everything as a gift coming from above. Through Noah, God renewed everything.
The covenant is established by God: “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants […] I will establish my covenant with you […]” (Gn 9:8). God takes the initiative. He only waits for our answer.
In the second reading, Saint Peter says that the Flood was a pre-figuration of baptism. The ark was viewed by the Fathers of the Church as an allegory of the Church. The apostle Peter says that baptism is “the pledge to God for an irreproachable conscience” (1 Pt 3:21). Baptism is a commitment with God’s initiative.
Through the Flood, God renewed what had been destroyed. In the same way through baptism, our lives are renewed. With baptism, we became truly “new creatures.” On the day of our baptism, God established a covenant with us. Now, we are called to be faithful to this alliance.
In the Gospel, Jesus was tempted by Satan. Diabolic activity tries to make us betray our covenant. Satan tries to disrupt our relationship with the Father. He makes us believe that we are not loved, that we are not chosen. He does not want us to “walk with God.” Jesus conquered Satan’s diabolical temptations. From Jesus, we receive the strength to conquer all our infidelities to the covenant. In him, we can conquer our frailties.
However, for that to happen we need to hear Jesus’ invitation: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1–15). To repent means to adhere to God’s initiative.
“I will establish my covenant with you.”
The covenant that God established with us needs to be renewed. Baptism requires our personal conversion. Without conversion, we do not achieve the fruits of baptism; we do not experience a new existence, the hundredfold promised by Jesus.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the way whereby God renews his covenant with us. In this sacrament, we can always return to the grace of baptism. It does not matter what we have done. The important thing is that the Father’s mercy is greater than everything. He can release us from the “floods” of our lives and we can really start again.
This Wednesday, the initiative “The Light Is ON for You” will begin in all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington in order to provide the opportunity for confession and quiet prayer. If you have been away, come back during Lent. It is a time of renewal, new beginnings and new life. Jesus, our most merciful, loving and forgiving God, will be waiting right here for you, every Wednesday evening during Lent from 6:30 to 8:00.
Sunday Reading Meditations