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"Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, 'Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,' when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast." —Jonah 3:4-5
Jonah said a half-dozen words and hundreds of thousands repented immediately, before a day passed. Even the king of Nineveh "rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the ashes" (Jon 3:6). Can you imagine the President of the United States of America clothed in burlap sacks instead of a fine suit and sitting in ashes as a sign for our nation to repent?
The third chapter of Jonah contains the most dramatic response to the call to repentance in the entire old covenant. Jesus chooses this passage and commands us to respond in an even greater way to His call to repent, since He is greater than Jonah (Lk 11:32).
This Lent, let's surpass the Ninevites as we respond to Jesus' call to repent. May just one word from Jesus bring tears to our eyes and repentance to our hearts. May we not only go to Confession ourselves, but accept the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). In Jesus' name, may we preach the forgiveness of sins to all nations (Lk 24:47).
Prayer: Jesus, give me the grace to repent and respond to You in a way appropriate to who You are.
Promise: "When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, He repented of the evil that He had threatened to do to them; He did not carry it out." —Jon 3:10
Praise: Sitting in her house alone, Linda heard God's word to her through a TV evangelist. It penetrated her heart and dispelled her doubt and disbelief in the mercy of God.
Reference: (For Lent, order our tape to help you with repentance, which is entitled Sacrament of Reconciliation, on audio AV 47A-3 or video V-47A.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004