More Merciful Than Jonah

First Reading: Jon 3:1-10
Psalm: Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Gospel: Lk 11:29-32

It is always helpful if someone, especially a very close friend, would
come up to us and tell us that what we are doing is wrong. A friend
could have an opinion, which may be totally different from what we have
about how we are behaving and living our lives. They tend see things
differently; they see things that we ourselves sometimes do not see.
This would be similar to having a mirror placed in front of us; perhaps
we would be surprised to find out how wrong we have imagined things to
be. How can we reject what really appears before us?

God, in his mercy, acted as that close and loving friend who saw it
right to tell the Ninevites by sending Jonah. He did the same to the
Jews with Jesus as the sign. The Ninevites realized their evil ways and
repented while the Jews of Jesus’ time responded with hardened hearts
to the message that was brought before them.

How often do we fall victim to our own whims and desires that our
actions and behavior would betray and trample what is just, right and
morally good? Pride, selfishness, greed, lust and a whole lot of sinful
tendencies blind us to the message of truth, which serves as a mirror
that reflects our fallen nature. Blaming temptation for our actions
will do no good. God expects us to overcome this struggle within
ourselves so that like his triumph on the cross, we may also be with
him in his victory.

On the other hand, if we were in the shoes of Jonah, would we have
behaved as he did? We also have tendencies to secure our own salvation
and ignore others’. We would have desired to see all the evil people
destroyed instantly. However, this is not God’s way. He intended that
the death of his Son might bring life to all, so that all peoples may
be saved. Without love, we would never understand this. What if we are
on the other end of the judgment table, wouldn’t we plead for life? It
is a good thing that we have a merciful God as our judge otherwise we
may have been destroyed long ago.

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