There are two themes that run through today’s reading from the prophet Jonah, and both are worth our reflection. The first is the sort of whimsical story of Jonah’s trials. God sends him on a mission to convert the Ninevites. If they refuse to reform, God would destroy them. Jonah had no love for the Ninevites and had no desire to convert them, so he takes off.
What follows is a wonderful tale filled with semi-comical details. There’s the storm, the drawing of lots, Jonah is thrown overboard, is swallowed by a fish, and is spit out on the shores of Nineveh.
God wanted Jonah to complete his mission. So Jonah preaches conversion (probably somewhat half-heartedly) and before he gets half way through the city, the king and the whole people dress in sack cloth and ashes and repent (even the animals).
Here comes the second theme in today’s reading. All God wanted was for the people of this city to live in the love in which he had originally created the human race. We are returned again to Genesis in which God looks upon his creation and lovingly declares it to be good. We see the same God choosing not to destroy the whole human race because of its iniquity, but saving Noah.
We are much loved by this God who offers us the nourishment of the Eucharist each day on our journeys. Our mission is to let the people around us know that no matter how sinful and evil and inadequate they think they are, they are much loved by this God. How will I do that today?
Let us pray:
Loving and gracious God, we praise you for the steadfastness of your love. We ask forgiveness for the times we have doubted and feared you. We thank you and ask that you continue to assure us and, through us, all those with whom we come into contact today, that you are a loving, gracious, and generous God. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)