Wednesday of 1st
Week of Lent
February 17, 2016 6:30am
The background to today’s first reading gives us a helpful human lesson.
God has called Jonah to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh.
His preaching of repentance – that we hear this morning – comes only after a near death experience in the belly of a whale.
I’m sure we all recall that famous Bible story.
At any rate, Jonah is so threatened by that near-death experience that he reluctantly succumbs to God’s command and preaches repentance to the people in Nineveh.
Why doesn’t Jonah really want to do this?
I see three reasons and human tendencies at work in Jonah and leading him not to want to get the people of Nineveh to repent.
First, Jonah sees them as foreigners.
He thinks that God’s love and salvation is exclusive and is restricted only to the Jews.
Second, Jonah looks down on them.
He feels that they are so sinful they should be punished and not given the chance to repent.
And third, Jonah wants to be proved right.
He has prophesied the destruction of Nineveh because of its errant ways and he does not want to be proved wrong.
Of course, God’s ways are different from Jonah’s.
First, God’s love and offer of salvation reaches to everyone, not just those of our own religion or our own country.
Second, God never gives up on us no matter what we have done.
And third, God expects us to be humble servants of his and not just promoting our own egos.
So, Jonah, a good man with some human foibles at work, gives us some things to think about this morning.