When the animals entered the Ark in pairs, one may imagine that allied species made much private remark on each other, and were tempted to think that so many forms feeding on the same store of fodder were eminently superfluous, as tending to diminish the rations. (I fear the part played by the vultures on that occasion would be too painful for art to represent, those birds being disadvantageously naked about the gullet, and apparently without rites and ceremonies.)
Noah’s dove prayed: Lord of the world, rather a bitter olive leaf given by thee than sweets and honey provided by a human!
picture from http://www.gelos.ru/nasledie/xx-century4-eng.shtmlPictures of the temptation of Jesus often show him in a bleak and barren place, the only living being among bare, gloomy rocks. Mark’s reference to animals reminds us that the reality was probably quite different. We may imagine Jesus sitting among rabbits and wildflowers perhaps visited at night by a lion and in the morning by birds who came to investigate this new, and so quiet, dweller in their wilderness. Not only human beings, but through them all created things, are called into the communion made possible when the power of the spirit in Jesus broke through barriers of possessiveness and lust for power.
Satan’s plausible suggestion is that if we want good things we must make sure we keep them to ourselves. Someone else might take some. But Noah’s ark is the sign that we can only be saved together. Those who refuse untidy and unpredictable intimacy, clinging to their right to control and manipulate, drown in the water which they cannot control. This water is the water of life, and life is the spirit that grows and flows and bears up the ark on its buoyant surface.