The floodwaters of Noah’s time that Jesus speaks of in Friday’s gospel (Luke 17, 26-37) evoke some vivid memories for some of us of the surging waters we experienced when Hurricane Sandy struck our shores recently in the northeast part of the United States. A disaster like that changes your life and the world around you instantly. Natural disasters show how impermanent life is.
The images Jesus uses in this passage from Luke’s gospel catch vividly what happens in a catastrophe like Sandy. We can’t believe life changes and something like a storm will cancel our next meal, or a scheduled party, or a regular talk with a friends or our family on a cell phone. We shrug off the danger: everything will be the same–till the flood comes and the lights go out and the phone goes dead and water, food and shelter are taken away.
We like what we have and what we’re used to it. But we don’t have it forever. If you want to survive when a storm comes you have to give up things. Like Noah, you have to head for the ark; it’s the only thing that promises to save your life. Like Lot’s wife, you can’t look back; you have to go forward or you’ll end up destroyed.
So the message of Jesus is clear. Look to God, our stronghold and our life. Place your trust in God, who gave you the gift of life, and will give you greater life if you give yourself to him.