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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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Jonah 3:1-10
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
Luke 11:29-32

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forty days for three days

"Forty days more..." —Jonah 3:4

In about forty days, we will celebrate the Triduum, which is the three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. During these three days, we remember and observe Jesus' Passion, death, and Resurrection; in these three days, Jesus triumphed over sin, death, and the kingdom of darkness.

The prophet Jonah walked through the wicked city of Nineveh proclaiming: "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed" (Jn 3:4). Before this announcement, Jonah spent three days inside the belly of a huge fish. When Jesus was asked for a sign, He responded with the sign of Jonah, who was "buried" for three days inside the fish and under the sea, and then "rose" from three days in the sea. Although God spared Nineveh from physical destruction, He did culturally destroy the wicked Nineveh and replaced it with renewed citizens who bore a repentant, humble spirit. Jesus thus linked forty days with three days.

Jesus once used forty days in the desert to prepare for His "three days" in the tomb. Imitate Jesus and use these remaining forty days to prepare for the three days of the Triduum. Prepare as did the citizens of Nineveh when they heard the prophecy of Jonah. Cultivate a "godly sorrow" for any times you have sinned or disobeyed the Lord (see 2 Cor 7:8-11). "Be earnest about it, therefore. Repent!" (Rv 3:19)

Prayer:  "Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness; in the greatness of Your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me" (Ps 51:3-4).

Promise:  "You have a Greater than Jonah here." —Lk 11:32

Praise:  When confronted by an angry co-worker, Frank kept calm because he had formed the habit of letting the Lord guide his thoughts through the Scriptures (see Jas 1:19).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013

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