What strikes me about these readings is that they speak of the fact that we, with our limited human minds and imaginations, often don’t get God. Even those of us who are people of strong faith often miss what God is trying to do in us and among us. Which puts us in company with the Apostles. They lived with Jesus every day, and still, very often, they didn’t understand what he was trying to say to them or teach them. Jesus was trying to warn them not to get caught up in all the things the Pharisees get caught up in, and they thought he was disappointed they didn’t have enough food. Talk about getting your wires crossed.
Then look at the first reading. We’re only in the sixth chapter of the first book of the Bible, just a few pages from the creation of the heavens, the earth, everything in them, and all of humanity. And it seems like God is already thinking this was a failed experiment. Or are we getting our wires crossed again? Maybe the purification of the earth was always part of God’s plan for our salvation. Maybe the new life that came forth after the flood was a foretaste and promise of the new life that would come from the Resurrection of the Lord. Maybe the flood itself is a foretaste of Holy Baptism, which washes away everything in us that is impure.
What we might take away from the Scriptures today is that often things of faith aren’t as easy to figure out as they may seem at first. We might often be missing what God is doing in us and among us. But a second, long look at things with the grace of the Holy Spirit can help us to see the salvation in the midst of everything that’s messed up. In the midst of all our calamities, God is absolutely working to bring us back to himself. But we have to pray for the grace to see that.
As we get ready to launch into Lent tomorrow, maybe that could be one of our Lenten practices. To really reflect on what God is doing in us and among us. What has he been trying to teach us in the midst of this pandemic? How does receiving ashes by sprinkling on the head as opposed to the cross on the forehead give us opportunities to connect to the biblical practice of sprinkling ashes for penance? In order to grow in our faith, which must be the goal of all our lives, we need to be open to seeing things as God sees them. We need to uncross our wires, and let Jesus teach us the Way to the Father.