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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Mar 4, 2009)
Readings: Jonah 3:1-10; Lk 11:29-32
"... every man shall turn from his evil way." Jonah 3:8
In both the first reading and the Gospel of today, we are reminded of what happened in the great city of Nineveh. Upon Jonah's preaching, the people of Nineveh heeded God's words through His prophet and repented. Even the king of the city decreed that all should turn from their evil ways. As a result, God did not carry out what He had threatened.
It was through Jonah's preaching that the people decided to reform their lives. Jonah was asking them to change and follow the ways of the Lord. Conformity can be one of the slyest killers of man's soul. Jonah was sent to warn this city's residents that conforming to popular spiritual and moral values was unacceptable in the eyes of God. Each person who heard the challenging voice of Jonah had a pivotal decision to make — to either follow the crowd or adhere to the ways of the Almighty.
As we reflect on this Scripture passage, we should be mindful that like the people of ancient Nineveh, we live in an age that in many ways has abandoned the truths and commands of our Lord. The acceptance of abortion, extramarital sex, and the vulgarity of many of today's television programs all show that virtues like chastity, decency, and wholesomeness are no longer cherished by our culture.
Lent is the perfect time to step aside from the world and ask God to shine His light of truth on the areas where we have strayed from Him. These 40 days are a time for repentance. Let's study God's word and seek to continually reform our lives, so that we may reflect that we truly are His followers.
Lord Jesus, You never sold out to the world, but came to change the world through Your mission of truth and love. Help me, Lord, to be like You, and to be strong in faith and adherence to Your word. Amen.