The story of the Tower of Babel is a dramatic presentation of the most basic form of all sin, which is a wish to be independent of God. To do our own thing, and to heck with anyone else who doesn’t agree with me. It’s the same sin as the ‘original sin’ of Adam and Eve. It’s a wish to be independent of God and authority and simply to follow our own nose wherever it may lead us. The men who planned the tower wanted to make a name for themselves by building a structure that would reach into the sky. They wanted to make a heaven for themselves without God.
The result, of course, was disastrous and they brought confusion and disunity upon themselves. And from this confusion and disunity, as the sad tale of history reveals to this very day, comes conflict, dissension, and war. Our Lord came to reverse that trend. He preached a message which revealed a formula for happiness and harmony; Our Lord taught that we must forget ourselves and our selfishness, and our arrogance. In complete unselfishness, he gave his life on the Cross and he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, a Spirit of unity and love. With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we see the change begin to take place. The efforts of humanity to build the Tower of Babel ended in a confusion of the languages of the whole world. The Spirit at Pentecost moved people of many languages to unite in a single voice in praise of God.
What God wants from us is a spirit of harmony and mutual co-operation. And because we are all basically selfish, this requires a degree of heroic unselfishness and a willingness to take up our cross with Our Lord as we surrender our own interests for the sake of others, and in our own case, the sake of the community. This is the only way to happiness and harmony. It may even be the right way to begin heaven here on earth.