Want a Sign? Wake Up!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

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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!

Ps51_miserere

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

A Clean Heart

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081818.cfm

Ps51_clean heart

Today, in Mercy, God tells Ezekiel that each person will be judged according to her/his own ways – not according to the deeds of our parents, family or friends.

In the Gospel, Jesus blesses the innocent children and says that those in the Kingdom of Heaven must be like them.

Most of us are a long way from innocence. We have our agendas, our politics, our status, our possessions, our grudges, our prejudices that often come between us and a spiritually pure heart.

If we want to be different, today’s Psalm 51 allows us to lay it all on the heart of Jesus.   Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.

(I hope you enjoy this gentle rendering of the psalm in Hebrew.)

Music: Choneni Elohim, from Psalm 51 (Be Gracious to me O G-d) ~ Christine Jackman