Our Lady of the Rosary
Jonah 1:1–2:2, 11;(Psalm) Jonah 2:3-5, 8; Luke 10:25-37
Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:3)
Did you know that ancient Nineveh, where God told the prophet Jonah to go, is just across the Tigris River from modern-day Mosul in Iraq? At first, Jonah resisted God’s call to go preach to this sinful city. He boarded a ship headed for Tarshish, in the complete opposite direction from Nineveh. But as we all know, he ended up in the belly of a huge fish, floating precariously between life and death.
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. As far as he was concerned, the Ninevites didn’t deserve to hear the good news of God’s mercy. He would have been much happier to see them have to suffer God’s wrath rather than have the chance to repent and be spared (Jonah 3:10–4:2). Jonah knew that if the Ninevites repented, God would save them. And that’s exactly the outcome Jonah wanted to avoid. God was too soft, he thought.
It’s interesting that the Church has paired this story of Jonah with Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. In the parable, someone whom Jonah might have condemned—a Samaritan—is the hero. He is the one who shows compassion and Christlike love, while the supposed paragons of Judaism—a priest and a Levite—walk right past the near-dead victim. In this parable, we once more see that those whom we might initially dismiss as unworthy can surprise us and convict us of our own need for deeper compassion and love.
But today’s readings do more than tell us to have mercy on the outcast. They also tell us how merciful Jesus is toward us. He could have passed us by. He could have run the other way when confronted with our sin. But he didn’t. He rescued us. And he didn’t do it just by taking us to an inn or by spending three days in the belly of a fish. He actually became one of us and poured out his life for us. This is the best thing that could have ever happened to us.
So rejoice in your redemption today. Praise and thank the Lord for saving you. Then go out, and become an instrument of his mercy to everyone you meet!
“Jesus, teach me to love and forgive as fully as you do!”~WAU