First Sunday of Advent

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“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

Curious how the first reading of Advent begins with Jesus making reference to Noah. The message is certainly one of preparation, and attentiveness, and of waiting and all are certainly themes that are appropriate for the advent season. The curious part is that the readings all week have had this overriding theme of a day of great turmoil, and conflict, and destruction which are followed by a renewal. These too have much to do with Noah as his preparation was for that great flood, but for Advent the connection at first escapes me. I then though think of those times that the first disciples lived in and though they were not the final day, they were times of great turmoil. While Noah’s turmoil was expressed in raging water, those disciples faced a sea of human conflict so often represented in the gospel as turbulent waters. As Noah was delivered to safety in that ark, that ark is often hinted at as the disciples cross the wind and water in that boat across the sea of Galilee. As I think of that ark of Noah’s and its similarity to that boat in Galilee, I think of how many times an ark is used to deliver Gods people to safety. There is Noah’s ark (teba) which is used to carry Gods creation to safety, and there is also that reed basket (teba) that carried Moses to Gods people. There is that ark of the covenant (Aron Habrit) that the people carried while led by Moses. All containers, two of which bring or carry salvation from water. This season of Advent continues this story of the ark with Mary as that ark of the new covenant as she caries Jesus and delivers Him into this world. That entry of Jesus Christ, son of God, into this world is a dramatic breaking down of barriers equal to the violent upheaval described in this weeks readings. To those ancients the heavens were the place of God, the earth the place of men, and the underworld Sheol. The entry of God as man into their world is to literally  shatter their world, and rebuild it through Christ’s salvation. Advent is waiting for the arrival of that salvation, and also the preparation for it. Just as Noah prepared for that flood.

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