July 26, 2009 in general
By REV. LUNA L. DINGAYAN
I have decided to put an end to all people. I will destroy them completely, because the world if full of their violent deeds. Build a boat for yourself out of good timber. Take into the boat with you a male and a female of every kind of animal and of every kind of bird, in order to keep them alive. Take along all kinds of food for you and for them. Noah did everything that God commanded.—Genesis 6:13-14,19-22
Typhoon season is again with us, and this reminds us of a man named Jack, a rich Zambo trader who disappeared from public view about 15 years ago, only to re-appear again lately making an ark in a remote Barangay Magsaysay of the town Roseller T. Lim in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay. When someone asked him why he was single-handedly making such a huge boat, he simply responded saying he was atoning for his manifold sins committed in the past. The story of his life was published in one of the national dailies.
According to Narciso Sardual, his real name, he used to be one of the richest traders in Zamboanga owning several fishing boats with about 600 workers under him. And since he had enormous money in his hands, he could do anything that he wants, building mansions, lustfully feasting on women of his likes, exploiting his workers, and even killing a lot of people whom he dislike; he would just pay the relatives of his victims. This was the kind of life he lived, until he lost everything, including his wife and family; he was separated from them.
And so, he decided to go to a remote place and start a new life. To symbolize the atonement of his sins, he started building a huge boat, an ark, perhaps reminiscent of the Biblical Noahfs ark. He promised himself to go back to fishing later on, no longer to enrich himself but to serve people, especially the poor. Jack believed that fishing and building boats were God’s gifts to him that he ought to use in the service of the people.
It is indeed heartwarming to note how a rich person, like Jack would finally realize his sinfulness, trying to seek forgiveness, to make amends of his evil deeds, and live a new life. Indeed, sometimes in life we need to have a typhoon of some sort in order to build an ark of new life.
In the Bible, we also have the story of Noah and his ark. It was God who commanded Noah to build an ark. The Scripture says, “God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to put an end to all people. I will destroy them completely, because the world is full of their violent deeds. Build a boat for yourself out of good timber. Take into the boat with you a male and a female of every kind of animal and of every kind of bird, in order to keep them alive. Take along all kinds of food for you and for them.’ Noah did everything that God commanded,” (Gen. 6:13-14, 19-22). In the end, Noah and his family was spared from the Great Deluge.
It is significant to note that the Great Flood was shown in the Biblical narrative as a consequence of people’s violent deeds. According to the Biblical story, God decided to put an end to all people, “because the world is full of their violent deeds.” In other words, we have great floods, simply because people are doing unspeakable violence not only to their fellow human beings, but also to the whole of God’s creation.
Floods as Consequences of Injustices
Sometimes the phrase ‘violent deeds’ is rightly understood to mean ‘ginjustices.’ Hence, the Great Floods during Noah’s time as well as in our time are actually consequences of injustices. The direct relationship between flood and injustice is not difficult to understand. One of the main causes of the great floods in our country in recent years that victimized a lot of people is the unstoppable denudation of our forests due to commercial and legal logging.
Although commercial loggers have legal permissions from the government, what they are doing is actually unjust not only to the present generation who would suffer the immediate consequences, but more so to the generations yet to come who would be deprived of our country’s patrimony.
Noah built an ark to save himself and his family as well as the representatives of God’s creatures on earth; Jack built an ark to atone for his wrongdoings; when will those in the position of our country’s leadership build an ark to shelter us from the flood of injustices prevailing in our land. We do hope it is sooner than later, before it is too late. Typhoon season is now with us, indeed! # nordis.net