Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” -Jonah 3:4
I am grateful for the season of Lent, particularly for this intentional time to reflect on my sin and need for the cross. And I confess when it comes to thinking about sin, I am sometimes tempted to think about the sins of others more than my own. Anyone else find it much easier to list off other people's sins, how foolish they are commit to them, and that maybe they deserve the mess their sins have created for them? I find a bit of Jonah in me…relate?
Father Cantalamessa comments:
Jonah was compelled by God to go preach in Nineveh. But the Ninevites were the enemies of Israel, so Jonah did not love them. He is visibly pleased and satisfied when he can cry out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jon 3:4). The prospect of their destruction does not displease him in the least. However, the Ninevites repent and God spares them from punishment. At that point Jonah goes through a crisis. God says to him, almost as though he were defending himself, “You pity the plant. . . . And should I not pity that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left?” (Jon 4:10-11). God has to spend more effort to convert him, the preacher, than to convert all the inhabitants of Nineveh.
I humble myself today thinking about this reading, revisiting the truth that in pointing my finger at others, it is my sin that takes a darker, more dangerous path. I separate myself all the more from the Lord, and certainly do nothing to bring others to Him either.
Lord, this day, and all days, help me to first recognize the depth of my own sin far before that of others. And, if you generously give me the opportunity to observe others' sin, may I care for them with great love- the same love you show me in my ugly sin.
Christina Crow, Office for Campus Ministry