Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus says that the days of his Second Coming will be like the days of Noah. So what went wrong in Noah’s day? The biblical answer is sin—that is to say, human dysfunction—more precisely a refusal of the great tasks that God gave to human beings. They became bad stewards of creation and bad priests, falling into ego-driven violence and the worship of false deities. The result was the flood.
But God did what he will do throughout salvation history: he sent a rescue operation. He found the one righteous man left and gave him a very peculiar assignment. Noah must have been a laughingstock, building a giant boat in the middle of the desert.
Onto the ark come representatives of all the animal species, as well as Noah and his family. Once again, we see the deeply integrated vision of the Bible. Salvation is never simply a matter of setting things right for human beings. It has implications across the whole of creation.
This is precisely why the Church Fathers saw Noah as a type of Christ and the ark of Noah as a type of the temple and of the Church.