March 8, 2017 – Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
Saint John of God
Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)
A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jonah (3:1-10)
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
Reflect: All of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. Nineveh represented a self-centered, pleasure seeking culture that allowed little room for God. Most of us live in a secular world that gnaws away at our faith and our relationship with God. Surprisingly, the people of Nineveh beginning with the king put on sackcloth and covered themselves in ashes as an external sign of humility and that their hearts were disposed to accept the mercy of God. They died to self. We are being asked, particularly during Lent, to die to self. We work hard to justify ourselves, but we sometimes reach the point where the only solution to our woes is to give everything over to God so that we can begin to rebuild only under the guidance and inspiration of his grace. “To whom else can we go, O Lord? You alone have the words of everlasting life.” Even if we don’t literally put on sackcloth, God is asking us especially during Lent to strip ourselves of our pride, arrogance and pretensions so that we can be completely dependent upon him and his grace for us.
What am I holding onto that interferes with me from being tuned in to the voice of God? Can I dare not to ask Jesus to strip me of attitudes and possessions that become replacements for God in my life?
Pray: Loving God, may I willingly enter into self-denial so that I can fill myself with your life, your grace, and your goodness. I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful.
ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)
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