This passage from Genesis is quite complex, as it takes us to the very core of our human nature. Fundamentally, human beings are good because in Genesis it is revealed to us that God is good and if we are made in the image and likeness of God, then we too must be good. Why then, if we are so good, is there so much evil in the world? I think this is one issue that these passages from Genesis are trying to address. It also comes back to the reality that as human beings, inherently we have been granted free will. We are able to choose how we want to live and what type of path we want to take.
This reading also speaks to the incredible nature of God’s mercy. God, in her power, could have chosen to wipe out and/or abandon the human race, but recognizing that good still existed in Noah, she decided against this option. I think that in this day and age, especially with all our recent advances in technology that we often forget or become desensitized to our fragile nature as creatures. We so desperately want control, but little do we realize that in all actuality we are in control of very little. As a twenty first century college student, this is very difficult to stomach. It is a testament to the grace of God as to how we make our way through our days, weeks and years on this planet.
The gospel for today’s readings is well linked with these ideas presented in the first reading. In the gospel, the disciples are struggling with recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. He questions them, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?” (17). The disciples due to their preoccupations with the things of this world, could not see Christ standing right in their midst. How often do we encounter Christ and not recognize him? Are we too preoccupied with the things of today that we miss him? I am not trying to negate that the realities of daily living are not important things to attend to, rather, we cannot allow them to be all consuming, which in this society, they tend to be. Both of these readings centralize upon the idea of recognizing God. In recognizing God, we come to a better understanding of who we are as human beings and how we are to live in this world, eyes and ears opened so that we may choose good over evil.