Noah’s Ark the Church: A homily for the First Sunday of Lent (B)

imagesI grew up in a church called St Charles growing up. Maybe you’ve been there. I remember I used to get a little bored at Mass, so I would count the pieces of wood in the ceiling. The roof from the inside looks kind of like a boat. It’s meant to.  It was built, matter of fact, like so many churches–in a way to look like an ark.

The Church Fathers talk about this. About how the Church is like Noah’s Ark.  It makes a lot of sense.  For a lot of reasons.

  1. For one, the ark saved Noah and his family and the animals.  The Church saves us.  We float along a tumultuous world. It is rough sailing sometimes. Oftentimes. Praise the Lord we are on the boat. The ark of the church takes us to heaven. It saves us, protects us from the enemy who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls. The Church is our boat.
  2. The Church is also the source of life.  Look at our first reading today folks. We see all this life coming out of the ark. The first reading talks about “all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with [Noah] and came out of the ark….”  We see this image of all this life coming out of the ark.  This is church.  From the church, from St JOe’s, should flow a lot of life, a lot of love.  It should be flooding out of here…this life.
  3. The Church is also the body. St Augustine read about the dimensions of the ark in the scriptures…the numbers are in there you know.  He drew the thing out.  He noticed that it looks like a body.  That’s church.  We are not a building or an institution, we are Jesus…the living body of Jesus.  And we’re a part of that!!
  4. The Church is the ONE ark.  St Cyprian noted that Noah didn’t have a fleet of arks.  There weren’t a whole bunch of arks.  There was ONE.  That’s our church friends. We are blessed to be in the barque of Peter, the Church Jesus built.

The thing is this. We need to love our Church, our Catholic Church!  Noah’s Ark prefigures our beautiful church…what a blessing!  Jesus built it, the Holy Spirit guides it. We’re all on board together.  It’s a big boat, and it is unsinkable…Jesus says the forces of the netherworld will never prevail against the church he came to build!  We’re on board together, we’re a family….we have each other.  Jesus in our Gospel is tempted, but the angels ministered to him. Our journey is much the same way. We have one another, the heavenly patrons and the angels…all around us, ushering us in to another shore….that of heaven!

May we love our Catholic Church more and more every day