This morning’s reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 6:5-8) expresses God’s grief in the face of the human capacity for evil.
When the Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.
While the Lord was planning to destroy all he had created from the face of the earth, he was moved by the goodness of one man, Noah.
As we prepared to begin another season of Lent, let us be reminded of these two simple truths. First, because God created us with a free will, we have the capacity to offend God with every kind of evil. Lent is a season to prayerfully reflect about the ways we choose to exalt our self rather than God. This season of conversion is a time to return to the Lord. In his light, we are capable of seeing our darkness. In his mercy, we are capable of rediscovering our goodness. In his love, we are reminded to be loving towards all of our brothers and sisters.
Secondly, Lent calls us to reflect upon the good God can accomplish through just one person. Today’s reading from Genesis reminds us of the good that flows from being attentive to God. Because “Noah did just as the Lord had commanded him,” God was able to renew the face of the earth through him.
This Lent our Holy Father, Pope Francis is challenging us to overcome our indifference to God and to our neighbor. The starting point for this is allowing one’s self to be reminded that we are not self-sufficient. We need God. We need the redeeming love and mercy of his Son, Jesus Christ. We need the fire of love and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to lead us out of ‘self’ to love others, especially those most in need.
Since we need God, we need the Church. We need the support of one another in faith. This Lent, may we grow in charity and concern and experience the conversion of heart that leads to new life.