As in the Days of Noah

“As in the Days of Noah”
A reflection on Luke 17:26-37
Friday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

Luke 17:26-37

The “days of Noah” and the “days of the Son of Man” look exactly like today. People are “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” The “days of Lot” are also no different from today—“eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building”—business as usual. If an earthquake suddenly strikes without warning, lives would be taken in the midst of the bustle. 

Life is fragile and fleeting. Lot’s wife failed to let go and detach from what was perishing. The account of two persons sleeping and two women grinding points out the obvious fact that no two persons are identical in their actions or inner life. In the end, each person stands alone before God. Any form of “herd mentality” ceases at the moment of death. 

After two thousand years of Christianity, St. Pope John Paul II wrote soberly of the “today” of salvation, steering clear of “millennarian fantasies.”

Yes, the Jubilee has made us realize that two thousand years of history have passed without diminishing the freshness of that “today”, when the angels proclaimed to the shepherds the marvellous event of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem: “For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). Two thousand years have gone by, but Jesus’ proclamation of his mission, when he applied the prophecy of Isaiah to himself before his astonished fellow townspeople in the Synagogue of Nazareth, is as enduring as ever: “Today this scripture had been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Two thousand years have gone by, but sinners in need of mercy — and who is not? — still experience the consolation of that “today” of salvation which on the Cross opened the gates of the Kingdom of God to the repentant thief: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).

St. Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 6 January 2001

2 Replies to “As in the Days of Noah”

  1. Dear GMC, your reflection is a gem. Thank you, too, for the link to St. Pope John Paul II’s 2001 exhortation. I love secrets and he’s got more: “Learning [the] Trinitarian shape of Christian prayer and living it fully, above all in the liturgy, the summit and source of the Church’s life, but also in personal experience, is the secret of a truly vital Christianity, which has no reason to fear the future, because it returns continually to the sources and finds in them new life.”

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