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.
The truths that we can take away from the story of Jonah continue to have importance in today’s time.
Jonah was sent by God to the city of Nineveh, a place overflowing with corruption and violence. Initially, he was apprehensive to go there, but he was able to grow through God and embark on the journey. Jonah gave himself many reasons to avoid God’s command, from concerns of his own safety in such a sinful city to the idea that they deserved to face God’s judgement. However, when he decided to give the people of Nineveh a chance for forgiveness, he saw how their eyes were opened to the severity of their sins, and they willingly cried to God for penance.
Often, we can feel the same way Jonah did. We might think that a criminal deserves severe punishments for their horrible actions or that we ourselves are unworthy of God’s love. Yet regardless of what we do, we are worthy of God’s love and forgiveness. Hopefully, despite living in a sinful world, we can strive to give up everything and turn to God in our own fastings/sacrifices this Lent and beyond.
– Sean Anderson, ‘18 and Allen Shorey, ‘18 are members of the Junior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.
God, you know what is holding us back from giving ourselves completely like you. We are sinful, we cannot find you without your help. So help us this Lent to recognize our flaws with your help, to desire to be your faithful servants, and to make sacrifices every day that build your Kingdom on earth just as Jesus did on the cross.
–Sean Anderson and Allen Shorey
Please share the Good Word with your friends!