Today’s first reading is from Genesis 8:4-21.
Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters dried up from the earth.
He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned to him in the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and brought her to himself in the ark.
Then he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark. The dove returned to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew the waters had receded from the earth. So he waited yet another seven days and again sent out the dove; however, she did not return again to him anymore.
And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. Now in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.
Then the Lord God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and their wives with you. Also bring out with you every living thing of all flesh: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that moves on the earth, so they may abound on the earth, and increase and multiply on the earth.”
So Noah went out with his wife and his sons and their wives. Every animal, every bird, and every creeping thing that moves on the earth, according to their kind, went out of the ark. Then Noah built an altar to God, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered whole-burnt offerings on the altar. So the Lord God smelled a sweet aroma. Then the Lord God thought it over and said, “I will never again curse the earth because of man’s works, although the mind of man is diligently involved with evil things from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”
The Blessed Augustine uses the raven that left the ark and never returned as an example of those who say that they will repent but never do. He writes:
You do not know when the last hour is going to come, and yet you say, “I am reforming.” When are you going to reform? When are you going to change? “Tomorrow,” you say. Behold: how often you say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow.” You have really become a raven. Behold: I say to you that when you make the noise of a raven, ruin is threatening you. For that raven whose cawing you imitate went forth from the ark and did not return.
Today’s second reading is from Proverbs 10:32-11:10.
The mouth of a righteous man distills wisdom, but the tongue of an unrighteous man utterly destroys. The lips of righteous men distill grace, but the ungodly is perverse. Deceitful scales are an abomination before the Lord, but a righteous weight is acceptable to him. Wherever arrogance enters, there also is dishonor, but the mouth of the humble meditates on wisdom.
When a righteous man dies, he leaves regret, but the destruction of the ungodly is immediate and brings joy. Righteousness cuts straight and blameless paths, but ungodliness embraces wrongdoing. The righteousness of upright men delivers them, but lawless men are taken tot heir destruction.
When a righteous man dies, his hope does not perish, but the boast of the ungodly perishes. A righteous man escapes from a snare, but the ungodly man is handed over in his place. There is a snare for citizens in the mouth of the ungodly, but the perception of the righteous is prosperous.
A city stays upright in the good things of the righteous, but it is razed to the ground by the mouths of the ungodly. A man in need of discernment treats citizens with contempt, but a man of discernment keeps quiet.
In speaking of deceitful scales, Solomon does not refer to worldly matters, but rather to the weight of our words. St. Ambrose of Milan writes:
Let each one weigh his words without fraud and deceit. A deceitful balance is an abomination before the Lord. I do not mean that balance which weighs out another’s pay in trivial matters. The flesh is deceitful before God. That balance of words is detestable which simulates the weight of sober gravity while practicing, at the same time, cunning fraud. God condemns especially the man who deceives his neighbor with treacherous injustice. He will have no gain from his clever skill, for what does it profit a man if he gains the wealth of the whole world but defrauds his own soul of the payment of eternal life?
Let us always be honest with those in whom we deal, so that we can lay up for ourselves eternal treasure in heaven. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us: to him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.