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O Lord, You are good and forgiving, full of love to all who call

We would expect a messenger of God to be overjoyed when sinners repent. But Jonah was not! It was as if he did not want the Ninevites to hear the divine message and repent.

O Lord, You are good and forgiving, full of love to all who call

Wednesday 09th October 2019
27th Week in Ordinary Time
Jona 4:1-11; Ps. 86(85):3-4,5-6,9-10;
Lk. 11:1-4 (Ps Wk III)

The first verse from chapter 4 of the book of Jonah, tells us that Jonah was “very indignant; he fell into a rage.” What was the cause of it? The Ninevites to whom God had sent Jonah with a message of judgment, had after receiving the message, renounced their evil ways; and in response God had not destroyed them (3:10).

We would expect a messenger of God to be overjoyed when sinners repent. But Jonah was not! It was as if he did not want the Ninevites to hear the divine message and repent. Some scholars believe that the reason Jonah did not wish to see the Ninevites repent was that it would show up the failure of God’s people in Israel to repent for their sins. Jonah was concerned with God’s judgement on Israel.

Twice in this passage, we hear Jonah dramatically saying, “I might as well be dead as to go on living” (vv 3, 8). He even asked God to “please take away my life” (v 3) and “begged for death” (v 8). Twice God asked him, “Are you right to be angry?” (vv 4, 8). As if to cap it all, we see Jonah being more concerned about the castor-oil plant that had perished, than be concerned about the destruction of the 120,000 Ninevites (vv 10-11).

Are we sometimes like Jonah? Are we sometimes out-of-sorts selfishly thinking irrationally about God, about others, about ourselves, and about our life situations? Whatever, let us always remember that God is a “God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, relenting from evil” (v 2).

O Lord, You are good and forgiving, full of love to all who call.

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