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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

21 January 2012

Reflecting on Jonah 3:1-5,10

Much of the humor in the Bible is lost on us today because it so culturally-conditioned.  But the passive, hypocritical Jonah in today’s first reading makes a great comic foil in any time.

Have you read the Old Testament book of Jonah lately? Try it.  You’ll laugh at the guy who tells God he ABSOLUTELY will go east, then books passage on the fastest boat going west.  Of course, he ends up being thrown overboard by the prayerful, (non-Jewish) sailors who recognize that God wants Jonah out of the boat and into the belly of the “big fish”.

After three days Jonah is spit up onto the shore and finally heads towards Nineveh.  There the inhabitants (including the cattle!) of the capital city of the most violent empire in the ancient world “believe God” immediately, and fast and pray.  When God has compassion on them and forgives them Jonah is FURIOUS, and at the end of the book we find him pouting under a tree that is quickly shriveling, taking away his shade and his last place to hide from the God who so maddeningly forgives the people Jonah hates.

But Jonah isn’t alone in his jealousy.  I admit I’m jealous too, because it appears that the Ninevites were able to truly change with just a short encounter with God’s word.   Real change— a change we can believe ineludes us most of the time, and yet we long for it.  Change our hearts this time, oh GodPut us anywhere, even in sackcloth and ashes in Nineveh—anywhere but with Jonah, spending eternity with an unconverted heart and a blazing, unrelenting sun.

What change do you long to make in your life?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

5 Comments to “Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B”

  1. I want to be less judgmental. It would be wonderful to go to Mass and focus on Jesus in the Eucharist rather than on the quality of the homily or on fellow parishioners. Maybe the “old” Catholicism isn’t so bad — God and me without all the distractions. Jesus is there. Let me find Him and no one else.

  2. The grace to appreciate all the stages of faith people go through, even though they seem so “fundamentally stupid or naive” at first glance. How dare I criticize God’s own movement in their soul! – – Cris

  3. Wonderful reflection, Kathy! I long to walk away from the tiny voice in the quiet spaces of my heart that tells me I am somehow wrong and undeserving of the many blessings I have received. To leave behind the irrational but persistent shame of my origins: poor, brown, gay. To remember instead the many gifts that have filled my life with joy and purpose and recognition of God’s rich forgiveness and bounty. I want to live a life of gratitude and generosity! Thank you for this lovely reminder, and for your faithful friendship. You are a blessing!!

  4. My wish is to be more of a light in the secular world, to be an evangelist by action.

  5. What comes to mind in this wonderful reading, is how our wonderful God can use us, even when we stubbornly stray from his perfect plan. God does not make mistakes, but He doesn’t abandon us. God continues to use us inspite of our arrogance and ignorance. Praise God for not abandoning me when I have messed up His glorious plans.

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