Daily Reflection for Wednesday February 24, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Jonah 3: 1-10
Responsorial: Psalm 51: 3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Gospel: Luke 11: 29-32
Our reflection on Wednesday’s readings:
“. . . no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” Luke 11:29
The common thread woven through today’s readings is the verse before the Gospel. “Even now says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.” Joel 2:13
Jonah returned to God with his whole heart. We know the Old Testament story of Jonah, the prophet. He ignored and refused to follow God’s instructions to preach to the people of Nineveh. He was then swallowed by a whale, and three days later was spit out onto dry land with a new heart ready to follow God’s will. Yes, I imagine facing that terror of confinement and certain death, followed by deliverance, changes one’s heart.
Jesus said this generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah. What is the sign of Jonah? What can we learn from Jonah’s story that applies to all people, all generations?
According to biblical scholars, the most powerful message in Jonah’s story, is God’s love and compassion for all people – ALL people, regardless of their race, creed, nationality, even actions. God loves all and wants everyone saved.
God told Jonah, to go to Nineveh, a place known for its sinful, evil ways. The Ninevites were enemies of Jonah’s people, known to attack, kill, and destroy them at will. Yet, God’s love and compassion included the evil people of Nineveh!
I imagine saving his enemies was the last thing Jonah wanted to do. Eventually, Jonah understood God’s love and compassion for all people. It was then that Jonah had the courage to reach out to his enemies.
We know how fear, judgement and division happens. It is going on right now in many ways in our lives and country. We are divided, we believe, understand and perceive things differently.
Maybe, if we let go of seeing things “my way” we can experience seeing things “God’s way.”
Maybe, if we set our emotions, judgements, and feelings aside, we can join God in loving all people. Maybe, then we will have the courage to follow God’s will.
Just like Jonah, each of us, has a choice.
Jonah paid a price for striking out on his own and ignoring God’s will. In the belly of the whale, he faced the miseries that come from being apart from God – fear, hopelessness, self-blame, isolation. Hell is often described as the pain of being cut off from God. I imagine none of us want to be separated from God, from his love.
May we each cultivate in our hearts, God’s love and compassion for all. Then, we will have the courage, faith and humility to follow the directions God sent to us through his son, Jesus.
Blessings to you,