1st Sunday of Lent
● The imagery that runs throughout the readings is the concept of "new creation. Lent is preparation for the resurrection of Christ, the event that is understood as ushering in the new creation. What does the story of the flood and Noah’s ark have to do with Jesus being tempted in the desert? The first connection is sin. The second connection, which is a time of trial. Destruction of wickedness on earth, God told Noah, would require forty days and nights of rain (Gen 7:4, 12). That number, in both the Old and New Testaments, is closely connected with times of trial, hardship, and punishment. Third connection is covenant. Following the flood, as we hear in today’s Old Testament reading, God told Noah that he was establishing a covenant. In baptism, as today’s epistle explains, the flesh—that is, the old man—is put to death, while a new man emerges from the sacramental waters. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that the true fast is “directed to eating the ‘true food’, which is to do the Father’s will (cf. Jn 4:34).” Noah was saved because he chose holiness over earthly pleasures. Jesus brought salvation by choosing the Father’s will over the devil’s lies. The challenge of Lent is to choose holiness and hunger for the true food.1
● Lent is associated with death and new life. The flood of Noah is frequently used as an apt image of new creation--through the waters of death, new life emerges. Noah is portrayed as a new Adam. Through him, we have God bringing forth a kind of new creation.
● Out of the waters, a new creation emerges (Genesis 1:2; 7:11)
● The flood begins after “seven” days, evoking the seven days of creation (Gen. 2:2; 7:10)
● As the Lord rested on the seventh day, the ark comes to a rest in the “seventh” month (Gen. 2:2-3; 8:4)
● Like Adam, Noah is told to be “fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 2:28; 9:1)
● Also, like Adam, Noah is given dominion over the creatures of the earth (Gen. 2:28; 9:2)
● As Adam consumed the forbidden fruit, Noah consumes too much of the fruit of the vine. As Adam found himself naked and ashamed, Noah's son looks upon his father's nakedness. As curses followed the sin of Adam and Eve, curses are pronounced by Noah.2
● we saw how God remained faithful to his covenant with creation, renewing it through Noah.
● the psalm celebrates the fact that God is faithful even when his people are not!3
1 Peter 3:18–22
● 1 Peter identifies the flood as a type of Baptism.
● Just as the waters of judgment brought death at the time of Noah, the waters of baptism also bring about a death--death to sin.
● just as a new creation emerged out of the waters, so too the Christian emerges as a new creation from the baptismal font.
● baptism isn't simply a "symbolic" act that has no efficacious power; we read, . . .baptism, which now saves you.4
● Jesus is among the wild beasts may recall the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden.
Ancient Jewish tradition held that Adam and Eve were ministered to by angels in the garden (Adam and Eve4.1-2;b. Sanh.59b).5