The word of the Lord was addressed a second time to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.
The crowds got even bigger and Jesus addressed them, ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’
“A humbled and contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn”
There once was a man who was caught in a flash flood and had crawled up to his roof. He prayed hard: “Oh God, please save me from this flood!”.
A couple of minutes went by when a man paddled by in his canoe. When asked to climb on board, the man declined, saying “God will save me!”. In the next half hour, a motor boat and a helicopter also came by and similarly the man declined to get in, proclaiming “God will save me!”
The man soon drowned and in no time at all, he was standing in front of God. “Why?”, he asked of God, “didn’t you save me?”. God deadpanned “I sent you a canoe, a motor boat and helicopter and you didn’t want to get in!”
Many of us have experienced God’s work and presence in our lives and yet, many of us continue to ask God to send us proof of his existence and His love for us before we choose to believe. Yet, the reality is that God is always present in our lives, performing miracle after miracle while He is here. We are simply blind to these special events. In the gospel of today, the crowds asked for further signs even after they had witnessed him casting out a demon and enabling a mute man to speak!
Brothers and sisters, let us remember that we must always look with eyes of faith. It is only through these eyes that we will be able to appreciate and understand God’s love, and allow us to turn back to the Lord with humble and contrite hearts in our failings.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer –Father God, we pray that we may always look at our world with eyes of faith. Help us to turn to you with humble and contrite hearts and that you may always listen to our pleas.
Thanksgiving – Thank you for always listening to us oh Father. Thank you for guiding us to Your kingdom and for sending your beloved Son to die for our sins!