Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings talk about the “sign of Jonah”? What is that really, and how does it speak to me?
The passage from the Book of Jonah describes a remarkable event. Jonah, finally coughed up from the belly of a whale, marches part way through Nineveh announcing its impending destruction.
What if somebody did that in your neighborhood ? Would you ignore them, call the police, or maybe move? Not the Ninevites. They LISTENED! They recognized Jonah’s message as a last ditch chance to get their act together! Talk about conversion! Even the king ripped his robes and sat in ashes!
When those questioning Jesus ask for a sign that they should repent and change, Jesus has had it with them. He basically says “No sign; learn a lesson from Jonah.“ In so many words, he tells them “I am your Jonah. I am your last ditch chance at conversion.”
Is there a message for us? Are we as bad off as the Ninevites or the dense crowds missing Jesus’s point? Are there realities in our lives that need conversion of heart?
Often, when asking ourselves such a question, we look to the sins we commit through our weakness and selfishness. We confess, own up, seek forgiveness for the things we have done.
But sometimes we are blind to our sins of omission – the things we haven’t done that we should have – the forgiveness withheld, the support never offered, the gratitude unexpressed, the half-hearted work for which we claim full payment, the family and community where we take but seldom give, the times we let ourselves and others be less than their best selves.
I don’t think Jesus wants us to sit in the ashes over these things, but rather to be honest with ourselves and shape up. Through prayer and reflection, we need to ask for the grace to hear Jonah’s voice in our lives.
Music: I Repent – Steve Green