October 8, 2019
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” . . . 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_3:1-10
Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” Lk_10:38-42
Oh, if only life was as simple and as pleasant as sitting at the feet of Jesus, with no worries and no cares. But thanks be to God, He gave us siblings and neighbors as our gifts of variety and excitement. Unfortunately, their thoughts, and actions, and philosophies are not always quite the same as ours. As a matter of fact, some of them can be downright unjust.
And so, God, through His Old Testament stories, and Jesus, through His real-life examples and His awesome parables, teach us how to deal with those issues of social justice. And through them, we learn about our own human nature, and we learn about the place of fear and judgment in how to survive it all.
You see, just yesterday we saw how Jonah took flight out of his fear of both the Lord and his arch-enemy, Nineveh. And just like Adam and Eve, that act of disobedience against God’s will, resulted in some pretty dire consequences for Jonah.
Then, today, recognizing the almighty power and mercy of God towards him, Jonah reluctantly resigned himself to obeying God. And, you know what, it really was quite a daunting assignment that Jonah was charged with. We might equate it to walking through socialist, North Korea, insisting that they all become Catholic.
You see, Jonah knew about God’s mercy and he also thought he knew about the nature of those Ninevites. But it was still a gamble. If the Ninevites refused to change, which Jonah expected they would, this episode just might BE the end of them. It would be Jonah’s, or actually, Israel’s sweet revenge, through God. And even though it might cost Jonah his very life, that, to him, would be worth it.
But IF, with 99:1 odds against it ever happening, the Ninevites actually repented. Then Jonah felt that he would end up being the embarrassed loser, because he was personally, very familiar with God’s merciful forgiveness. And he knew that those Ninevites would have gotten away with all of the evil of their past.
You see, it was one of those very deep social justice issues.
And whenever we pit the act of revenge against God’s mercy, we’ve learned through the ages, that revenge always loses in the end, whether it’s a simple consequence of the act or through a miraculous conversion, as was the case with Nineveh.
Mercy always wins and revenge loses.
And, you know what, God’s miracles still happen, even today. Who’d have ever imagined an end to communism in Russia almost 30-years ago, if you’d lived through those Cold War decades?
Who’d have ever imagined a US President or a Missouri Governor who didn’t support abortion?
Or, cures for cancers?
Or, a Church full of faithful Catholics at a simple Communion Service?
Sure we still have our faults and our enemies, our fears and our hesitations. But thanks be to God for His mercy. And thanks be to Jesus for teaching us that we CAN be – just as merciful, even when, like Martha, we might feel like we’re the only ones doing all the work! . . .
God loves us no matter what!
And so should we!
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