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Covenant with Every Living Being

Week One: February 21-27

The Sunday readings for this week can be found here.


In the story of The Great Flood, God protects Noah and his family—along with “two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature”—from the destruction of 40 days and nights of torrential rains. As the flood waters recede and the soil begins to dry, God establishes a covenant with Noah’s family to start creation anew. This covenant is not, however, only with Noah and his family but with “everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship.” God enters into a promise with humans and all of creation so that “never again will every living thing be destroyed.” 

Covenant is a two-way path. The promise is made by God and accepted by Noah. It is a covenant for all generations to come.  God made the covenant with every living thing existing and that would exist in the future. Thousands of generations later, it is up to us to follow through on that covenant, for the sake of all creation, including humankind. God saved two of every kind of bird and animal so that they would repopulate Earth.  The ecosystems of our waterways, animals, and plants know how to regenerate themselves. Our covenant with God necessitates that we get out of the way and allow nature to take its course.  

Covenant means relationship: with God, with each other, with all of creation. Lent is a time to reflect on how we might have ruptured any of those relationships. It’s a time to repent and ultimately renew. As Pope Francis said, “Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God” (Laudato Si’ , para 119, 2015). 

It is easy to despair, especially in times of uncertainty and disasters like climate shocks and a global health pandemic. But God gives us reminders of hope: “I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth.” A simple, natural, bold-with-bright-colors, amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat-in-the-sky sign of hope. The rainbow. 

“Look, look. Look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill and the stream.
Look, look. Look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.”

from Finian’s Rainbow, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg


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Used for inspiration for the reflection: 

Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ, “Creation Covenant: Lenten Reflections on Integral Ecology,”

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