We all know this story. God called Noah and his sons, they made an Ark, Noah and his family and a pair of every animal went inside the Ark, rain fell and flooded the whole land. Human beings died, plants died, animals died, the dinosaurs died (just kidding), everything died.. except those inside the ark.
Then God made a covenant (contract/agreement/promise) with Noah and his sons, “I establish my covenant with you that never again shall all flesh be cut off by waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth..”
“This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and that waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” (see Gen. 9:12-15)
Read Genesis chapters 7 to 9 to get the whole story of the Great Flood.
The Church has always seen the Old Testament as a prefigure or a representation of the New Testament, or what the Father will do through His Son, Jesus Christ. These figures (may be key persons, events, actions) in the Old Testament are called “types” or “parallels” that symbolizes persons, events, actions, that will happen in the New Testament.
This is why St. Augustine said that, “the New Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.”
The Ark is a type that signifies the Church. The Ark floats safely over the waters of the flood. And the water signifies baptism. As the waters of the flood wiped out sin on the face of the earth, so does what baptism does to us – it is the death of the old sinful life (original sin) and birth of the New life with Christ.
Note: some people question if the flood really consumed the whole earth, or just the area of Mesopotamia where Noah is located. It’s hard to figure out which is which. But the important thing to note is that – everyone was wiped out and only Noah’s family was saved.
When God said, “I have set my bow in the clouds,” he is pertaining to His weapon. When we look at a rainbow, we think.. “it’s cute.. it’s beautiful piece of art.. there’s a pot of gold at the end of it..” But, a bow is a weapon. Somehow it symbolizes God’s power, justice and Mercy. And God is saying, “I am laying down my weapon..”
There are times when we think like this, “Why doesn’t God just wipe out the bad guys off the face of the earth? That would be nice. And everything that’s left are good people.” But here’s the thing, God already did that. And sadly, it didn’t work. After the great flood, men begun and started evil deeds again.
When we look at a rainbow, we should be reminded of two things (not that pot of gold): God’s justice, and God’s great mercy.
God’s Justice is His second greatest attribute. And the Noah had a foretaste of it. No one could escape it, it encompasses all and no one can hide from it.
God’s greatest attribute however, is His Divine Mercy. Right now, Jesus is inviting everyone to come at the foot of His cross and see how merciful God is.
Since we’re talking about God’s Mercy, here are some excerpts from the Diary of St. Faustina:
Words of Jesus to St. Faustina –
“Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.” (Diary 965)
“I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation.” (Diary 1160)
“Before the day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy.” (Diary, 1588)
“He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.” (Diary, 1146)
“You have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a just Judge. Oh how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for granting mercy.” (Diary 635)
So what do we do? Repent, go to confession and turn away from our sinful life. God wants us to receive Him, but only if we have an open heart.
Let us not be discouraged:
“My secretary, write that I am more generous toward sinners than I am to the just. It was for their sake that I came down from heaven; it was for their sake that My Blood was spilled. Let them not fear to approach Me; they are most in need of My mercy.” (Diary of St. Faustina, 1275)
For more info on the Devotion to the Divine Mercy: