Navarre Bible Commentary—1st Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
**From: Genesis 9:8-15
God's Covenant with Noah (Continuation)
 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,  "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and. your descendants after you,  and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.  I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,  I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."
9:8-17. To show that he was pleased by Noah’s sacrifice, God promised that he would never again flood the earth (cf. 8:20-22); now he renews that promise in the context of a covenant that covers all creation and which is ratified by a sign--the rainbow.
This marks the start of a series of covenants which God will freely establish with men. The first covenant (with Noah) takes in all creation, now purified and renewed by the flood. Later there will be the covenant with Abraham, which will affect only himself and his descendants (cf. chap. 17). Finally, under Moses, he will establish the covenant of Sinai (cf. Ex 19), also confined to the people of Israel. But because man proved unable to keep these successive covenants, God promised, through the prophets, to establish a new covenant in the messianic age: “I will put my law within them and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33). This promise found its fulfillment in Christ, as he himself said when he instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his body. and blood: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:20).
The Fathers and ecclesiastical writers saw this rainbow as the first proclamation of this new covenant. Rupert of Deutz, for example, writes: “In it God established a covenant with men through his son Jesus Christ; by the death (of Christ) on the cross God reconciled us to himself, cleansing us of our sins in his blood, and he gave us through (Christ) the Holy Spirit of his love, instituting the baptism of water and the Holy Spirit by which we are reborn. Therefore, that rainbow which appears in the clouds is a sign of the Son of God. ...] It is the sign that God will never again destroy all flesh by the waters of the flood; the Son of God himself, who was taken out of sight by a cloud, and who is lifted up beyond the clouds, above all the heavens, is forever a sign which reminds God the Father; he is an eternal memorial of our peace: now that he in his flesh has destroyed the old enmity, friendship between God and men is secure: men are no longer servants but friends and children of God” ("Commentarium in Genesim", 4,36).