Reflection for the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Couldn’t I just go to the beach?
Ok, I’ll deliver Your message…

“Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”

Imagine you were visited by God sometime around 1936. God tells you to board a plane and travel to Nuremberg. You are to visit the largest Nazi rally ever held. You are to take the stand, in front of all the microphones, stand right next to Hitler, and tell him and all the gathered crowds that they are doing evil and are required to repent. They must repent or they will be destroyed.

That’s the message Jonah received. The Assyrians were the Nazis of the ancient world. They conquered huge territories. They were particularly brutal. Their statues show their kings standing over conquered people while they were brutally tortured and killed.

Jonah, the happy-go-lucky prophet was to go to the center of their capital, a four city megalopolis, with walls so thick you could drive three chariots abreast along them. There were 1,500 towers, and 120,000 people living there, and it would take three days to walk through the city.

Jonah figured, forget faith in God — I’m going to run away, head to the beach. But no one can run from God who is everywhere.

Faith is confidence in the caring and powerful love of God who makes all things right. Our God who does miraculous things. The brutal Assyrians were no match for a Jonah when he finally decided to follow God’s word and act with faith.

We all face our Nineveh, we all face our lions, and we are all called to trust that God’s miracles overcome. We are called to faith and trust, that God who could love and forgive the psychotic and brutal Assyrians, who could still the lions, who raised Jesus from death, will save and renew us.

God is already rewarding our faith and trust in Him. It isn’t easy to trust like that, to set aside fears and the practicalities — but we do. It is there, in our eyes, in our resolve. His miracles are for us.

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