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Almost all countries in the world await the so-called “great flood.” With unpredictable weather pattern changes, places that never knew high tides are now being submerged in catastrophic waters. Where once the rain came in drizzles, now it comes in torrents. And places accustomed to floods are battling their worst deluge. Property, livestock, and lives are devastated and lost each year.

Lent is a time of salvation. The first reading gives us an image of God’s saving plan through the ark of Noah. What many of us enjoyed as a children’s Bible story actually delivers a powerful message of God’s calling, human response, and God’s promise of renewal and re-creation. Not meant to be a scientific account of an actual flood, the biblical narrative is a prelude to the message and actions of the Lord Jesus Christ, our true Savior.

The world in Noah’s time was fast self-destructing. Through wickedness and sin, God could no longer see the original goodness he bestowed on his creation. The flood was not an instrument of wrath or punishment but a symbol of purification and cleansing. The majestic ark stood for God’s benevolence in securing the future of the world by saving the just and all species of his creation. The last word in life is not destruction and degradation, but new life, new promise, new covenant, new relationship with God.

Each of us feels swayed by the powerful and oppressive powers of evil and sin around us. The innocence of our youth heroically battles, and many times falls, in the face of temptations. We witness our own lives, and those of others, self-destruct because of sins and failures. But each year, the Lord sends the ark of salvation, not the mythical ark of Noah, but the saving ark of the Lenten season.

Entering the ark of Lent with faith, we know that the engulfing waters cannot harm us, the destructive forces of sin cannot destroy us anymore. In the ark of Lent, we learn together with Jesus to pray and fast, to resist temptations (see the gospel), and to trust in the promises of God to renew and re-create our lives. Like Noah, let us enter the ark and invite our loved ones to join us. Aflame with love for God, let us ask the Lord to safely guide our Lenten voyage this year.