Grace to you!
Using the story of biblical Jonah, I reflect on God’s unfailing love and mercy towards sinners.
For those who love literature, the Book of Jonah's literary quality is impressive. It casts the characters, plots and scenes with exciting details and leaves the reader with multiple imageries to delight the imagination. It is one of the stories in the Old Testament that are told not only in the Jewish bible and the Christian bible, but also included with a few variations in the Koran.
One notices that God called Jonah two times. The first is reported in chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Jonah; a mission Jonah did all he could to avoid. The second call is narrated in chapter 3:1-10. Unlike the first, after many frustrating experiences on his way running away from God, Jonah was literally forced back to Nineveh where he should be.
After learning the lesson that there is no need to run away from God because it is not in our interest, Jonah became a little more open to divine mission. So, when God spoke to him a second time and commissioned him to preach to the people of Nineveh, he listened and began preaching. May we also listen when God speaks.
In this particular reflection, I am more interested in the incredible response of the people Nineveh when Jonah preached repentance and God's gracious forgiveness: “When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out” (Jon 3:9-10).
This ties to the general lesson of the Book of Jonah which the Jews recite (they call it Haftara) during their Yom Kippur (Jewish holiest day, Day of Atonement). They read the story to remind those asking for cleansing and divine forgiveness that God's mercy is boundless for those who repent.
May this message of Divine Mercy be for us and our loved ones, a source of inspiration to always turn to God if we sin. There is no distance away from God that is irredeemable. There is no past that God can't heal. There is no sin beyond Divine Mercy.
Do you have any past that is holding you back? Does guilt hold you back from gazing as the Holy Face of the Redeemer? Take it to the Lord in prayer in humble submission to His grace, realizing that though we are weak, God is strong. Though we fail, God’s steadfast love is everlasting. God forgives. God heals.
Moreover, turning to God is in our best interest. Turning away from God deprives us of inner joy and peace. It deprives us of salvation too.
Be reconciled. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 27 A: Jon 3:1-10; Lk 10:38-42]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.