By Fr. Alex Radulescu - Today, I would like to draw your attention to the story of the tower of Babel, recorded in Genesis 11. Here is the story:
After the flood, Noah’s descendants spread around the world. People lived in harmony with God and among themselves. After a while, they settled in the land of Shinar (Babylon), a region of Mesopotamia, along the Euphrates river.
The people who settled in Shinar were clever. They discovered new techniques to build better, higher and faster. They used bricks and mortar (made of asphalt). We still use these building materials. For that time, it was quite amazing to have this advantage.
And what did they decide to do? They said to each other: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower, whose top will reach to heaven; and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Gen 11:4).
But, stop for a second and think: what’s the problem with this statement? There are a few words here describing a desire to break away from God and seize autonomy: “ourselves,” “tower to reach heaven,” “make a name for ourselves,” “lest we be scattered.” Wow! What’s going on here? There are some similarities to the story of Adam & Eve when they are counseled by the devil to seize power and eat from the forbidden fruit and acquire for themselves the knowledge of good and evil… without God’ consent.
Let’s see what happens next in the story: God visits the city of Babel and takes an account of their wicked intentions. The consequence is real: they lose an important privilege: unity of language. God confuses their language and they scatter across the earth.
What do we learn from this story? Seems like we oftentimes take for granted God’s gifts to us: Adam & Eve had everything they needed from God and yet, they chose to disobey Him. People of Babel discovered a new technology which they quickly used to pump up their pride and build a tower to protect them from God’s impending punishment rather than use it for a better purpose.
No matter what situation we are in, today’s Scripture reading reminds us that pride and lack of trust in God’s care leads to a “scattering” of our own existence. God loves us and will provide for all our needs. There is no need to worry and lose hope. Let us build together with Him a tower… of faith. Amen.