Valentine and Noah

Fr. Wilmar Zabala

14 February 2007


We have wonderful things in our liturgy today. Of course, we have Valentine’s Day. And we also have the beautiful conclusion of the story of Noah and the flood. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to say a few words about St. Valentine. We know almost nothing about the real St. Valentine, except that he was a Roman priest who was martyred for his faith. Why a celibate priest should be associated with love and lovers is a good question! For whatever the reason, St. Valentine’s name has become virtually synonymous with expressions of affection.

Now, although we may not understand why a priest is the patron saint of lovers, it’s easy to know why we have a saint especially assigned to the virtue of love. Love is an essential ingredient for life. One of the immutable laws of the universe is that the more we love, the more we will be loved. If we try to hoard our love, we will end up with nothing because love cannot exist in the same space as possessiveness, dependency, or selfishness. The very essence of love demands that we give it away.

So, that’s my take on Valentine’s Day. But there’s no way I can end this homily without saying a few words about the story of Noah and the Ark, which was my favorite Bible story when I was a child. Here are the life-lessons I learned from that story:

1. Don’t miss the boat.

2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.

3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

4. Stay fit. When you’re 70 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

6. Build your future on high ground.

7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

9. When you’re stressed, float awhile.

10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs — the Titanic by professionals.

11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.