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Who's Sorry Now?

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The Marian Fathers present this Lenten devotional series to help you prepare to receive graces on Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday.

Readings: Jon 3:1-10; Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Lk 11:29-32
Diary: 1052, 1521

They proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. — Jon 3:5

Did you notice the words "a second time" in today's first reading? In that reading, Jonah is obeying the Lord and going to Nineveh to warn them to repent or be destroyed. The first time the Lord told Jonah to go there, Jonah fled in the exact opposite direction.

Why didn't he want to go? Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian kingdom. They were enemies of Israel. Jonah wanted them to be wiped out. He didn't want them to have the opportunity to repent. He says so himself:

This is why I fled at first toward Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, repenting of punishment (Jon 4:2).


The Lord's warning eventually reaches the Ninevites. They act in humility, fasting and wearing sackcloth to show their remorse. Everyone, rich or poor, including the king.

In the Gospel reading today, the "growing crowds" are waiting for Jesus to give them a sign. He tells them they have one "greater than Jonah" calling for repentance. But they're not repenting. How ironic that God's mercy was accepted by the Chosen People's historic enemies, but they do not accept it for themselves.

God's mercy is available to all who humbly repent.

Prayer: Lord, may I always gratefully accept Your mercy, and beg Your mercy for the whole world.

Missed a day? See previous "From Ashes to Mercy" daily meditations.

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