Tuesday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time
(Jonah 3: 1-10, Luke 10: 38-42)
In today’s first reading, we are reminded of the wonder of God’s infinite mercy. Upon the people of Nineveh who had dwelt in darkness, the light of salvation shone. The people who dwelt in a barren wilderness heard the clarion voice of the prophet. Those who wandered aimlessly found the path to life. What a marvelous story. God sought to get the attention of people who had gotten lost following their appetites. Moved with compassion, God spoke a word to the heart of a people who did not seek him. Responding to the movements of the heart, the people found salvation. Therein lies the secret. Having heard the message of the heart, the listener has to respond.
If we have learned anything from the COVID pandemic, it is our inadequacy to deal with the challenges of life. Having been confronted with the ambiguity of the virus we have been forced to cry out to God and to reach out to our brothers and sisters. No life is expendable. We need one another if the human family is to survive.
I was intrigued to read that the people of Nineveh did not protest against or try to shout down the prophet Jonah as he spoke. There is a great divide in our Church, our country, and our world. On either side of the divide, there is an attitude of “I know and there is nothing you can tell me” or “I’m right and you are wrong” with an epithet, “And wrong has no rights.” As the screaming continues, the divide gets wider. We must listen for the voice crying out in our expanding wilderness. We need to listen to the voice that speaks a word of peace whereby confrontations can become encounters. We need to be attentive to the still small movement of the Spirit that can transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that are capable of feeling compassion for the person next to us. May we receive the seed of God’s Word and allow it to take root in our hearts. May God grant us a willingness to share ourselves whereby we can manifest the dynamism of love. With the help of God’s grace may we build networks of respect and fraternity.