We have more, but less…
First Sunday of Lent (B)

Jeremiah R. Grosse
Reproduced with Permission

God established a covenant with Noah, Abraham, and Moses and in each case there was something required on the part of the people as well as the promise made to them by God.

This morning’s first reading from the Book of Genesis tells us of the covenant between God and Noah. In return for the wickedness of mankind, God decides to destroy every human, animal, bird, and fish on the earth and start all over again. In the passage just prior to this morning’s reading, God says to Noah, “Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for is His own image God made mankind.”

According to the story of Adam and Eve, mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Everything God made prior to creating man was declared to be “good”, but when God created man He declared His new creation to be “very good”. God was aware of the fact that man had disobeyed Him in the Garden of Eden and that this act of disobedience would have a profound impact upon future generations; however now He has decided that “enough is enough” and it is time to start over.

How far have we come since the time of Noah? We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less common sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, become too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch too much television, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and lie too often.

We have learned how to make a living, but not a life; we have added years to our life, but not life to our years. We have been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We have conquered outer space, but not conquered inner space; we have done larger things, but not better things; we have cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we have split the atom, but not the prejudice; we write more, but learn less; we plan more but accomplish less.

We have learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends; more effort, but less success.

We have built more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever before, but have less communication; we have become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the times for fast foods and slow digestion; tall men and short character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare, more leisure and less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is too much in the show window, but not enough in the stockroom.

God promised Noah and his descendants another chance. After the flood waters had receded, God spoke to Noah and said that He would never again destroy all the creatures of the earth by way of a flood. As of way of reminding God of this promise, He set a bow in the sky, a rainbow, as a sign of the covenant which He had made with Noah. God was angry with His children, but His anger gave way to compassion and mercy.

The Holy Rule of St. Benedict instructs the monk to make use of the Season of Lent by keeping his manner of life most pure in order to make up for negligences of other times. This is a worthwhile instruction for another regardless of whether or not they live in a monastery.

The world around us and its attempts to pull us in so many directions that we lose sight of what is most important will still be with long after Lent is over. However, during this time of repentance it would beneficially to us to make an effort to slow down and take time to cherish our friendships and family. There is an old saying, “No one has ever seen a U-haul following a hearse”. Nothing is more important than our relationship with God and our neighbors, who are also made in His image and likeness.

Lord we have sinned against You, by treating our neighbors as a means to an end rather than as an end in themselves. We ask You to give us the strength during this Holy Season of Lent to correct our faults and shortcomings and become the people that You want us to be.

Where there is life, there is hope. Life is not a baseball game. We do not get three strikes and then we are out. This season gives us an opportunity to return to the Lord, our God, so that one day we might spend all eternity with Him who lives and reigns forever and ever.