Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting, with a smile, what Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God.
– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
This made Jonah very indignant; he fell in to a rage. He prayed to Yahweh and said, ‘Please, Yahweh, isn’t this what I said would happen when I was still in my own country? That was why I first tried to flee to Tarshish, since I knew you were a tender, compassionate God, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, who relents about inflicting disaster. So now, Yahweh, please take my life, for I might as well be dead as go on living.’ Yahweh replied, ‘Are you right to be angry?’
Jonah then left the city and sat down to the east of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, to see what would happen to the city. Yahweh God then ordained that a castor-oil plant should grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head and soothe his ill-humour; Jonah was delighted with the castor-oil plant. But at dawn the next day, God ordained that a worm should attack the castor-oil plant—and it withered. Next, when the sun rose, God ordained that there should be a scorching east wind; the sun beat down so hard on Jonah’s head that he was overcome and begged for death, saying, ‘I might as well be dead as go on living.’ God said to Jonah, ‘Are you right to be angry about the castor-oil plant?’ He replied, ‘I have every right to be angry, mortally angry!’ Yahweh replied, ‘You are concerned for the castor-oil plant which has not cost you any effort and which you did not grow, which came up in a night and has perished in a night. So why should I not be concerned for Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, to say nothing of all the animals?’
Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, this is what to say:
Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.’
When God is the focus of the moment, it is so easy to pray calmly with the words Jesus has taught us. But when a task, like the work we are given, becomes our focus of the moment, and when things go awry, we can be like Jonah. Jonah probably wanted justice to be done—he wanted the Ninevites to be punished for their sin. When God did not inflict the punishment He had threatened, Jonah was angry because he felt it was unfair to let the Ninevites off.
Let us remember that our lives are not meant to be self-serving. We are not meant to live out our own sense of justice, or any desired sense of satisfaction. We are meant to live out God’s love, and to please God. Knowing that will help us to not only say the Lord’s Prayer, but also live it out. Are you frustrated, angry or sad today? Take heart in the Creator’s purpose for you.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
Prayer: Lord help us to see You beyond our own troubles and frustrations.
Give thanks to the Lord for: His prayer that we can pray in times of distress.
Thu, Oct 11 – Malachi 3:13-20a; Luke 11:15-26; Memorial for Bl. John XXIII
Fri, Oct 12 – Joel 1:13-15, 2:1-2; Luke 11:15-26
Sat, Oct 13 – Joel 4:12-21; Luke 11:27-28
Sun, Oct 14 – 2 Kings 5:17-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19; Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.