Wednesday, February 21, 2018
First Week of Lent
“At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” Luke 11:32
What an interesting way for Jesus to call the people to repentance. Simply put, the people of Nineveh repented when Jonah preached to them. However, the people in Jesus’ time did not. The result is that, at the end of time, the people of Nineveh will be given the responsibility of condemning those who failed to listen to Jesus.
The first thing we should take from this is that condemnation for refusing to repent of one’s sins is real and serious. Jesus is speaking about eternal damnation to the people who fail to listen to His preaching. As a result of this very strong teaching of Jesus, we should sincerely look at our own willingness to repent, or lack thereof.
Secondly, it’s important to point out that the people Jesus chastised were far more blessed with the prophetic message than the people of Jonah’s time. Remember that Jonah was a man who, at first, ran from God and from his mission. He did not want to go to Nineveh and only did so after being brought there in the belly of a whale against his will. It’s hard to imagine that Jonah would have subsequently preached with a wholehearted zeal. But, nonetheless, his preaching was effective.
The people of Jesus’ time were blessed with hearing the actual words of the Savior of the World. But so are we! We have the Gospels, the teachings of the Church, the witness of the great saints, the shepherding of the Holy Father, the Sacraments and so much more. We have countless methods of obtaining the Gospel message in our technological age and, yet, we can easily fail to heed Christ’s message.
Reflect, today, upon your own willing response to the words of Jesus. He speaks to us in powerful ways and yet we so often fail to listen. Our failure to listen leads to a failure of complete repentance from our sins. If this is you, reflect also upon the words of severe condemnation that await those who are obstinate. This realization should fill us with a holy fear and motivate us to listen to the preaching of our Lord.
Lord, I know You speak to me in countless ways. You preach through Your Scriptures, Your Church and in my life of prayer. Help me to heed Your voice and accept all You say with perfect obedience and submission. I love You, my dear Lord, and I repent of my sin. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Peter Damian