Jonah is often viewed as a problematic prophet, but I see him more as an “every man.” He had no love for the Ninevites and would have been happy had the Lord let his wrath consume them.
Is he not so like many of us who, either secretly or overtly, harbor anger or resentment for those who differ from us politically, or by race, class, national origin, religion or even profession? We might detest a member of our family because of some past offense. We might even find delight if something bad happened to them. They could fail an important test, miss a promotion, lose a job, have marital difficulties or even be deported or become seriously ill. They could get into trouble with the law.
Now, while we might want God to punish others (those we don’t like), we pray that God would bless and protect us. If so, today’s Gospel might give us cause for concern. In the prayer we pray each time we gather for the Eucharist, we ask the Father to forgive us only to the extent that we forgive or reconcile with others. Most of us often just gloss over those words, but this is not any ordinary prayer. It is the one that Jesus himself taught us to pray.
Father Eymard suffered greatly from people who did not understand him or his decisions. He took the words of Jesus seriously and regularly forgave those who caused him pain or suffering. We could surely benefit from his prayers to help us to be as forgiving and loving as he was. The Eucharist calls us to do just that, to love and forgive as Jesus did on the cross.
Perhaps today let us ask for the grace to soften our hearts in forgiveness.
Let Us Pray:
Loving and compassionate God, you created and love each of us despite all that we do contrary to your design for our happiness. Help us to be more loving, more forgiving, more open to our brothers and sisters, especially those who seem to bring the worst out of us. They too are perfectly loved by you. Amen
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)