“Of the clean animals and the unclean, of the birds, and of everything that crawls on the ground two by two, male and female came to Noah into the ark, just as God had commanded him.” (Genesis 7:8-9) “For forty days and forty nights heavy rain poured down on the earth.” (Genesis 7:12)
These lines from Genesis about Noah and the great flood are the most recognizable. They’re the most dramatized in cartoons and movies because they’re whimsical—they’re out of this world. In our minds we may already have a picture of giraffes and zebras and camels lining up two-by-two entering the boat. We see perhaps a rainstorm that ends as quickly as it begins. If we ponder this more maybe we’ll think of the dove or the rainbow.
When Jesus mentions Noah and the flood in today’s Gospel he talks about what the people were doing prior to the flood. They were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” (Matthew 24:38)
Wait a minute though. What’s wrong with that? Aren’t these good things?
They are! They are as long as we are prepared for what comes next.
If we run through the schedule of our day or our week, what most consumes our time? Eating and drinking perhaps? These are not bad things. Spending time with our spouse or family? These are not bad things either. We often make resolutions however that our daily routine washes out like a flood. We often resolve to learn more about our faith. Maybe we tell ourselves every week after Mass that we are going to pray more, read the Bible more, say grace before meals. Making these promises is a good start, but we also need to see them through. Do we get so immersed in our routines that we forget God? When at work, at school, at home with our family, when we’re out to dinner, when we’re going about our day-to-day living do we forget to incorporate God?
Our family, our work, our dinners together are not bad things—not in the days of Noah and not for us today. But are we so consumed in trying to become rich, trying to be popular, trying to be the perfect parent or perfect student that we forget God? Our lives don’t end once we die here, but we have to be prepared for what comes next. We can start preparing now with small but significant steps: praying, a family rosary, going to confession, thanking God. We often look ahead to Christmas and forget that Advent is a time of preparation. Are we prepared or preparing for the coming of Christ? Or are we too consumed in our eating and drinking, in our work and our shopping?