The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today’s reading from Jonah invites us to reflect on the areas of our lives where sin has taken hold. But in the age of radical individualism, “YOLO” (you only live once) and “you do you”, it is tempting to dismiss the idea that our thoughts and behaviors might need re-evaluation or correction. I personally find it far easier to consider the sins of others, and the rampant social sin I observe in the world.
But what if we, like the Ninevites, “cried mightily to God”? What if we spent some time this Lent doing the soul-searching work of identifying the places in ourselves most in need of God’s healing and mercy? God desires this freedom for us even when we resist it.
—Kristi Gonsalves-McCabe is the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Provost at Regis University.
God of infinite mercy, I cannot see my own sins clearly without your help. Give me the grace of humility, that I may be open to the freedom that you desire for me. Amen.
—Kristi Gonsalves-McCabePlease share the Good Word with your friends!