Grace to you!
Have you ever wondered how God looks at a sinner? I tell you, all of us are sinners. Have you asked yourself, especially during your spiritual and moral lows, how God looks at you?
Sometimes I ask myself this question and the insight I get from the Word of God encourages me. Take for instance, the story of the people of Nineveh recorded in the Book of Jonah.
Our Lord Jesus Christ referred to the people of Nineveh as true models of repentance. You may read the story in Luke 11: 29-32 and the original story in Jonah 3.
When I read that story, I was so thrilled by the second verse where God spoke about the people to Prophet Jonah. God said, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you” (Jonah 3:2).
Pause for a while and think about those words. Look at how the bible describes the mind of God: For God, the people of Nineveh (who by geographical records, considering their time, was not a large city) were considered to be great. For Jonah, the people didn’t merit God’s blessing and they were unfit for his visit to proclaim God’s word. Not with God, for whom the sinful city was still great.
No matter how dark their sins were or how deep their wounds, for God, they were seen as great people who would be drawn to the mercy of God in order for them to unleash their spiritual potentials.
This simple line from Jonah 3:2 strikes me as how God looks at us, though we are sinners. Before even repentance, God sees us, sinners, as people who are great and who, when we welcome his transforming word, witness the glory.
Consider parents who have a humbling child. They see the great potentials of the child and they feel terrible the child isn’t maximizing those potentials. If they had the power, they could will their child’s way to the realization of those great potentials. Unfortunately, they don’t.
It is similar to how God looks at the sinner. From the prophesy of Jeremiah (2:13) we read about God’s pains (not that God suffers physical pain like us), that His people have left Him and dug for themselves empty cisterns which hold no water. The greater pain is we often leave where blessing is in pursuit of shadows. Isn’t it how bad a parent feels for a humbling child?
In God’s eyes, repentance is our blessing. It’s the unleashing of those great spiritual potentials we have in Christ which have been mired by sin. For us, repentance also is a blessing because it enables us to see ourselves how God sees us and to allow His grace to help us turn things around for our blessings.
This refocusing of how to look at repentance should inspire us to answer to the call of God’s grace, to tap of those great qualities we have been given; the power to know God and enter into relationship with him, the quality of purity which allows our spiritual life to thrive, the grace of love which makes us truly human and loving in all its facets. Discover the blessings in turning to God and not to those things which take us away from true greatness.
Lent is a wonderful opportunity to jumpstart if we haven’t.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday, Lenten Weekday: Jonah 3:1-10; Lk 11:29-32]
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.