worming our way out
"I would be better off dead than alive." —Jonah 4:8
Jonah was so despondent that he became suicidal because 120,000 Ninevites repented and were spared destruction. Jonah wanted them to get what they deserved.
The next thing that made Jonah despondent was a worm. He seemed to be more upset by the worm than by spending three days in a fish's belly. He was downhearted and even suicidal because the worm chomped on his gourd plant (Jon 4:7). This killed Jonah's shade tree (his air conditioner) and made him hot (Jon 4:8). Because of the worm, Jonah was literally "out of his gourd."
Jonah seems to have needed psychiatric help, but actually his problem was downright selfishness. Jonah was despondent about the Ninevites' repentance because he was selfishly holding a grudge against them. He was angry about the worm because he was selfishly preoccupied with his comfort.
The world is full of Jonahs — people who are despondent because of nurturing grudges and seeking comforts — all because of selfishness. The only solution to this condition is to repent, die to self (Lk 9:23), and live for Jesus. If necessary, Jesus will send a fish and a worm to help us repent, but ultimately the decision is ours. Repent!
Prayer: Father, may I laugh at Jonah's antics and cry tears of repentance at my own.
Promise: "Give us each day our daily bread." —Lk 11:3
Praise: Tim, a prisoner on death row, converted to faith and the Sacraments a year before his scheduled execution. He repented, made a good Confession, and trusts his soul to Jesus, Who is "good and forgiving" (Ps 86:5).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Bishop-Elect, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 26, 2011 (for 10-1-2011 through 11-29-2011) and May 26, 2011 (for 11-30-2011)
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