RELUCTANCE TO DO WHAT GOD ASKS
Jonah appears in the reading today as a faithful and obedient prophet happily setting out for Nineveh, the largest and most grand city of the Assyrian empire. Its location today is on the bank of the river Tigris opposite Mosul in Iraq. This is impression is far from the truth. God had spoken to Jonah earlier and commissioned him to go to Nineveh to proclaim God’s message to them to change their ways. Jonah flatly refused the commission. He knew that if he went and preached the Ninevites would respond well and change their ways and not be destroyed (which was the path they were heading down!). Jonah wanted them destroyed! He would be a fine companion for people of today who prefer to see people “nuked” or in some other way militarily crushed rather than change their ways and live peacefully and in harmony with other inhabitants of our global village. Jonah was so set on not doing what God asked that he took the next available ship to get as far away as possible. If you remember his submarine adventures with the whale then you know that the rest is history. The whale brought him back to his point of departure and, I suspect, still reluctantly but now obediently he set out and did what God had asked him.
Every baptised person has received a call from Our Lord to follow him, as He called Simon and Andrew, James and John. And the call is not just a call to follow but to do a job: bring other people to Our Lord. “I shall make you fishers of men.” Some of those you call are the ones closest to you, your spouse and your children. You have intimate contact with them and praying for them and having your sons and daughters baptised and then raising them in the practice of the faith you set them on the course to love Our Lord and bring others to love him likewise. Others you fish for are people from your wider world: work colleagues, fellow sports enthusiasts, people you see from time to time. All their lives will be richer if they accept the love God has for them in Jesus. This is to be our abiding conviction. As we fish, we never know where we are going to get a nibble or a bite, but we use well the lure of the beauty of our own life to attract others to Christ.
If this conviction is alive within us we see the world in a larger and truer perspective. As St Paul says today remember that this world, this life in which we are so involved is not here for ever. It is passing away. A healthy detachment from all the good things of this life is called for if we are to see our lives and our world clearly and as I say in true perspective. When we see in that way, we find a great freedom. Whether we have much or little does not rob us of our inner serenity that flows from knowing God loves us. Knowing that love is enough.
As we saw with Jonah, he had no doubts that if he lived and spoke as God asked him to then the Ninevites would change and come alive in a new way. He had to overcome his dislike for the Ninevites and give them the chance to find the life he had. The same call is with us. Even reluctantly God wants us to tell others about the Word sent to bring us alive.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Feb 12, 2015||3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 25.01.2015||Listen||Download|