Mon, 7 October 2019
(Jon.3:1-10; Ps.130:1-4,7-8; Lk.10:38-42)
“He repented of the evil that He had threatened to do them;
He did not carry it out.”
Ninevah is spared. Because “they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth,” because they repented of their sin and called “loudly to God,” He did not punish them for their iniquity but forgave them and withheld “His blazing wrath.” And so this pagan city finds God’s mercy through the preaching of Jonah.
We are all called to repent. We are all called to turn to the Lord and seek His forgiveness and grace to overcome and be spared of punishment for our falling short of His glory. Our psalm declares, “Let Israel wait for the Lord, for with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption.” And so to find His mercy we must have faith and we must be patient. We must be as Mary in our gospel today, seated at His feet, listening to His words. We cannot remove ourselves from this place and hope to find salvation for our souls any more than the Ninevites could have taken a break from their sitting in sackcloth and ashes to have a snack and yet hoped to find the forgiveness they so desperately needed. Our fast must be total, our obedience complete. Do you think Mary had a mind to rise as she listened to her Lord? Do you think she was distracted by anything? Certainly not. And we in our prayer and in our work and in our lives must find the commitment she embodies if we hope to know the grace of God truly working in our hearts.
Indeed, the Lord “will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.” Indeed, He hears the voice of all who cry to Him “out of the depths” of their sin. He will come and wash us clean; He will come and make us new. If we choose “the better portion,” we “shall not be deprived of it” and its reward. But it must be our whole hearts that turn to the Lord, that are set on His word… that heed His preaching as it comes with its grace to our ears.
If we are short of prophets today, listen more closely, brothers and sisters. If it is difficult to find the Word preached with the power and blessing of Jonah, open your Bibles and turn to your hearts. Sit still before Him in silence and He will fill your soul with His light. And fail not to come into His presence where the people gather for Mass. The Word shall indeed fill you; His Bread shall indeed nourish you. And your soul shall be saved according to your commitment to Christ.
O LORD, let our hearts be set on you
and your presence;
may our ears be open to hear your voice.
YHWH, let us turn to you with all our heart that we might find forgiveness of our sins and peace in your presence. If in sackcloth and ashes we cry out to you in repentance, you will look kindly upon our souls; if in silence we sit at your feet, what shall we not be taught? All is ours if we make ourselves your own.
O LORD, all nations you call to yourself. There is no one for whom you do not care, whom you would not save in your mercy. And so you send your prophets forth even to the ends of the earth, and so your Word goes out to all places and times – and so all who listen to your voice find redemption for their souls and enter your holy Temple.
Your ears listen for our voice calling out to you; your heart longs for us to set aside all things and worship you. O LORD, let your gracious will be done in all our lives that none shall perish in separation from you.