Noah’s actions were a foreshadowing of the salvation to come.
However, even after the flood, humanity was still in need of a savior, and it wasn’t until Jesus came into the world that a new “ark” was constructed to save people from their sins.
The St. Andrew Daily Missal explains the symbolism.
It was the wood of the ark which saved the human race and it is that of the Cross which in its turn, saves the world. “Thou alone,” says the Church, speaking of the Cross, “hast been found worthy to be, for this shipwrecked world, the ark which brings safely into port.”
Furthermore, “The open door in the side of the ark by which those enter who are to escape from the Flood, and who represent the Church, are as is explained in the liturgy, a type of the mystery of redemption; for on the Cross, our Lord had His sacred side open and from this gate of life, went forth the sacraments, giving true life to souls. Indeed the blood and water which flow from thence are symbols of the Eucharist and of Holy Baptism.”
Connected to the wood of the cross, Baptism is also seen as the new “ark” that saves humanity.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, “The Church has seen in Noah’s ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it ‘a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water’: The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of Baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness” (CCC 1219).
Just as Noah was the “captain” of the ship that saved humanity, Jesus wakes up from his slumber and takes his place as captain of the Church, ushering all people to come upon the boat that will lead to their salvation.
This image is a perfect meditation for Lent, for as God sent rain upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, so too does the Church spend 40 days in preparation for the saving waters of Baptism at the Easter Vigil.
May we never leave the ark of our salvation and cling tightly to the cross of Jesus Christ, no matter what storm may come.
Support Aleteia! It only takes a minute.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!