Lent 2023 First Reading

Wednesday of the first week of Lent

The first reading today is from the book of Jonah. A little background information is helpful for understanding. This story was written in the 5th century before Christ. The Study Bible notes that, “Jonah is a disobedient prophet.” He was running away from God’s commission when he was swallowed by the fish!

If I can pause a moment I would like to add that I can relate to Jonah. I am not a prophet, but I am disobedient and strong-willed, and like Jonah, I sometimes walk away from what God wants me to do.

Jonah’s mission is to go into enemy territory and proclaim that God will destroy these enemies in three days if they do not repent and stop sinning.

No wonder Jonah runs away.

Jonah’s words had a surprising effect on the people of Nineveh. “When the news reached the King of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the ashes.”

“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.”

Will wonders never cease!

When I am prompted by the spirit to challenge family members or old friends when they make racist or homophobic remarks, sometimes I hesitate. It is not a popular message to be bringing. Like Jonah, I want to run away, or worse, stay and say nothing.

My friends and family members need to hear this message, though, and who knows, this time they, like the Ninevites, may repent and change their ways!

Wonders never cease!

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