Gn 6:5-8; 7:1-5,10; Ps 29:1a,2,3ac,4,3b,9c,10; Mk 8:14-21: Noah and his family cause the LORD to hold back. In this one extended family the LORD can see that there is still hope for the fallen and wicked human race. This one family becomes the people the LORD will bless with peace even in the midst of the flood and storms of righteous anger. Indeed, this people give the LORD the glory due his name; they adore the LORD in holy attire. While they huddle up in the ark with all the other creatures, clean and unclean, Noah’s family hear the voice of the LORD, over the waters, the vast waters. They can hear and respond to the mighty and majestic voice of the LORD. We are the family of God, gathered in the arc built out of the precious wood of the cross; we hear and respond to the Breath of God, the mighty and majestic Holy Spirit. No longer crowded into the arc with all the other animals; we gather into His Temple. Still, we hear the God of glory thunder. With one voice we cry out in thunderous jubilation, “Glory!” The Lord Jesus is enthroned above the flood; He is enthroned as king forever. Neither the waters of creation nor the fears of our own creation overwhelm us; chaos and danger are stilled by the voice of the Lord Jesus asking the painful question of his disciples in every age, “Do you still not understand?”
This is one of the most painful moments in the entire Old Testament. This is the only time when the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved. This grieving of the LORD continues in the Exodus when the newly liberated People of God question the divine motives in bringing them into a wilderness to die of hunger and thirst. Throughout his relationship with the disciples the Lord Jesus feels his Father’s sadness of heart when they continue to show signs of the same hardness of heart of his opponents, the Pharisees. However, there is good news in this difficult story of regretting and grieving. “But Noah found favor with the LORD.” This one righteous man and his extended family are to repopulate the earth after the flood. Along with all the seven pairs of clean and the single pair of unclean animals, this single family will connect the human race before and after the flood. These creatures responded with obedience, something long lost over the surface of the earth. This obedience and the mercy of God maintain life during the great flood of rain for forty days and forty nights. This purification from evil gives man a second chance to be faithful to the covenant. The LORD does not give up completely. The LORD can see into the hearts of Noah and his children. The LORD beholds the beauty of his own image and likeness, and this glimpse is enough to move the heart of the LORD beyond regret and grief.
The heart of the Living God was grieved and moved. The hearts of the disciples of the Lord Jesus were hardened; the disciples in every age are hardened. In his tender compassion the LORD summoned Noah and his family; so too, the LORD summons us. This God of ours is a God who saves us. He rescues us in every devastating flood of water and every flood of despair. The Lord Jesus wants to break open our hard hearts. He wants remove the scales from every eye. He wants to unblock our ears. All that he has done for so many outside the circle of his disciples, he now wants to do within that first community of believers, and within this community of believers. The Lord Jesus continues to instruct the fellowship of faith during every Mass. While we continue to be nourished by the fragments at every Eucharist, do we still not understand? When will we learn to listen to every word that comes from the mouth of God? When will we learn to be nourished by his wisdom? Indeed, in every generation we too must understand and comprehend that the LORD is summoning us out of our hardness of heart. He wants us to remember that he supplies our daily bread. The one who feeds us owns us. The Lord Jesus gives us his body and blood so that we might become what we eat and never get caught up in the leaven of those who try to hide behind power or religion to avoid the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom comes as a judgment upon all who oppose the LORD, and it is a reward to all who seek him. “Do you still not understand?”