When we see a rainbow, let us recall God’s early covenant with us
Reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent (February 21, 2021): GN 9:8-15; PS 25:4-5,6-7,8-9; 1 PT 3:18-22; MK 1:12-15
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
God not only loves us and provides for our welfare on earth, but in Christ we have a Savior who leads our way to heaven.
On this first Sunday of Lent, the Old Testament reading reminds us of the covenant Almighty God made with Noah. In Genesis we learn that God was gravely disappointed with the wickedness of men and women after the fall of Adam and Eve. Finally, He decided to create a flood over the earth that would destroy all living creatures, people as well as animals. Because Noah found favor with the Lord only he and his family would be spared. God commanded Noah to build an ark that would protect his family and the animals he would bring aboard. After the flood ended and the ark came to rest, Noah built an altar to honor God. Then the Almighty promised that He would never again destroy all mortal beings through a flood. “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between Me and you and every living creature with you: I set My bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between Me and you and all living things” (Genesis 9:12-15).
There are several other references to divine covenants in the Old Testament, most notably with Abraham, Moses and David. God always kept faith with His promises although His people often failed Him. But through Jesus, the Son of God, a New Covenant exists. God not only loves us and provides for our welfare on earth, but in Christ we have a Savior who leads our way to heaven. Indeed, today’s reading from the first letter of Peter, points to the story of the Great Flood as a prefigurement of our Christian Baptism and an appeal to the Father through Jesus’ resurrection. Whenever we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we hear the priest say at the Consecration: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal Covenant.” Through this endless covenant made with the shedding of Christ’s blood, we are given a share in that sacred and everlasting promise.
Suggested missionary action: We can make an effort to read more of the Scriptures during Lent. While focusing on the Gospel, we can also pay attention to Old Testament revelations of God’s love for His people as well as revelations that look forward to the coming of Christ.
Give with heart this Lent. Put resources in the hands of missionaries in the Pope’s missions who are serving the poor and battling COVID-19.