WEDNESDAY, FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Jon 3: 1-10; Ps 51: 3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Lk 11: 29-32
THE SIGN OF GOD’S MERCY
The sign of Jonah is the preaching of repentance by a prophet who comes from afar. In the first reading, Jonah brings the ‘Word of the Lord’ to the people of Nineveh, and as he begins entering the city. The King hears of it, proclaims a fast, and declares that all put on sackcloth and ashes in repentance. The King covers himself in sackcloth, leaves his throne and sits in ashes. God thus has mercy on Nineveh. The miracle in this passage is not the change of the heart of God towards Nineveh, rather it’s the prompt and immediate action of the people of Nineveh. They received the ‘Word of the Lord’ and promptly acted upon it.
This sign of Jonah is interpreted by Jesus as his death and resurrection. It is the sign of God’s love, the gift of his Son (Jn 3:16) This gift of His Son, the new sign has made his followers true children of God. This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come; true knowledge of God will ultimately be gained, and his followers prepare themselves with virtuous lives in imitation of the son.
In the Gospel, the crowds ask Jesus for a divine sign. The call for a sign indicates that the crowd has not been receptive to Jesus and his message on the kingdom. We need not wait for signs to change and believe in Christ since Jesus is the ultimate sign. He makes himself present daily in the Eucharist and the Word of God. The Paschal Mystery offers us the clearest sign of the truth of God’s love and commitment for us than anything we could ever imagine. Our life itself is a sign that God is ours and we are his. Therefore, let us have a deep faith in the Lord and surrender our lives to Him. Lent gives us a sense of sin while pointing to the possibility of Easter. In this season of grace, the Lord seeks in us a repentant heart; for the one who repents, the sign of his divine mercy will not be wanting.
Response: A broken and humbled heart, O God you will not spurn.
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