Mk 8:22-26 Starting Over
After the storm, the sky clears. After a long dark night, the sun returns and rises. These are just a few of the necessary cycles of life, and we are not surprised at all to read that after a period of flooding, the waters began to recede and land and life came back to earth. As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “Even this shall pass.”
Why this flood? I do not believe that the Lord regretted creating life, especially man. No, He had regretted the decisions man had made. And so He sent the rain and the floods to destroy everything except a pair of all living creatures. The Lord had this tremendous desire to start all over again. And he did. The flood did not just simply destroy; it brought back hope, life and peace to its proper place. The flood washed away the iniquities of the world.
When I make a mistake, sometimes the best thing to do is to wipe the slate clean and start over. When my computer freezes, I’ve learned that the best way to solve the problem is to push the start button and reboot. As children we heard, if at first you don’t succeed, try-try again. The solution is never to give up but to get right back up and try again.
The Lord’s solution was to wipe the slate clean and renew the face of the earth. And so should we. Starting over is not above us. Going back and recognizing a mistake should be considered a huge success! Starting over again can actually be considered progress! It takes a tremendous amount of courage to begin again, to start over; to re-create myself.
The Lord wants all men to be saved and calls us to the knowledge of that truth. What is His truth? That He alone is Lord of life and love. When man does not hold these two things dear to him, he deserves to perish, for he is a foreigner in his native land. The emotional storms hit, the spiritual rain falls and the physical floods come. All of these catastrophes are the result of a world gone mad! But the Lord, like the potter, can begin again and He gave me dominion, not only over the earth but also of my very being, to open the flood gates of my heart and soul to do all that needs to be done: to start over!
Why this flood? Is it not the great symbol of Baptism? Born from the womb a sinful man; born-again from above a child of God. Where sin brought me to my knees; grace brought me to my knees in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Tears from sin; tears from contrition. Is the great flood not the tears of God over man's disobedience? Are my tears not the tears of remorse over my disobedience with God? We do not have to be held hostage by our past transgressions. We do not need to be labeled by our failures or past sins; we can now give witness of God’s amazing grace, over flowing and bringing hope, life and peace to its proper place.
The Lord can do all of this! He can re-create the earth as quickly as he can re-create the soul. Forgiveness is curative – immensely curative. It is refreshing to the soul. The Lord provides an abundance of life-saving-water. A parishioner here at St. Joseph reminded me of how scare water is in Africa. He told me that the songs in Nigeria are filled with themes around water, for water is such a scarce commodity. Then he mentioned to me how he noticed that American songs always talk about love. He asked me, “Is there an absence of love in America?”
Yesterday, we read how the Lord re-creates creation by filling seven baskets. Seven days of Creation; seven Sacraments; and seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus also re-creates the twelve tribes of Israel by giving the world His Twelve – the twelve Apostles.
What’s it all for? To make the blind see, the lame walk, and the sinners go free. Starting over is what we do all the time, or as G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “The best way to get home is to never leave."